Taiwan is not officially on Nancy Pelosi’s visit list, but unofficially she is due to arrive in Taipei for an overnight stay on Tuesday and meet President Tsai Ing-wen tomorrow. Analysts warn that Beijing could respond with a military escalation.
According to the official travel dates, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, will only visit close allies Japan and South Korea as well as Southeast Asian Malaysia on her trip to Asia. At least that is what theFinancial Times“. However, it is also clear to everyone in Washington that an official announcement by Beijing would be understood as a disregard for the one-China principle, which would trigger the corresponding measures by the communist leadership in advance.
Meanwhile reports the “The Straits Times” from Singapore citing multiple sources that Pelosi will arrive in Taipei today Tuesday and will meet the self-governing island’s President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday. This is despite Beijing warning that its military, the People’s Liberation Army, will never “stand by” if the spokeswoman actually flies to Taiwan. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is entirely her own decision and China should not escalate tensions in the event of such a visit.
But given the persistently high tensions between Beijing and Washington, as well as the extremely negative phone call between Presidents Xi and Biden last week, a Pelosi visit to Taiwan is likely to present a “red line” that the Chinese will certainly respond to. In an excerpt from an insightful post entitled “Red Clouds of War Looming Over Taiwan” by a Western researcher based in Taiwan, states that there are five possible scenarios for a Chinese response:
Scenario 1: The minimalist approach. The PLA occupies the Jinmen or Matsu Islands, as well as the Taiwanese islands in the South China Sea, and perhaps even the Penghu Islands. It also declares part or all of the Strait of Taiwan a no-go zone for foreign military ships. This would probably be fairly easy for the PLA, and Taiwan probably wouldn’t want to get too involved in a naval war against the massive PLA Navy (PLAN) unless they approach the main island directly.
Scenario 2: Hybrid Warfare. A sort of partial sea and air blockade of Taiwan aimed at disrupting the economy, combined with increased harassment, such as B. Direct overflights of Taiwan’s territory by PLA Air Force (PLAAF) jets or intrusion into Taiwan’s sea space by China’s naval militia, protected by PLAN warships. This could also come with cyber attacks that could shut down the internet and other infrastructure for days. Taiwan would have no choice but to adopt a tough defensive posture, leading to real skirmishes between Taiwanese and Chinese forces and posing a serious risk of escalation.
Scenario 3: A serious attack but no invasion. In this case, only air and sea warfare would be fought, but no ground forces would be deployed. A total air and sea blockade, a series of protracted sea and air battles aimed at weakening Taiwan’s military, combined with ballistic missile attacks on military targets. Aggressive cyber attacks that shut down the Internet and paralyze critical infrastructure for days or weeks. Once air and sea superiority was established, China could attack targets at will, increasing the threat until the government collapsed.
Scenario 4: The full broadside – a real invasion. Total air and sea blockade, massive ballistic missile attacks on military targets, massive cyber attacks to shut down virtually all military, government and civilian communications and cripple critical infrastructure. Aggressive sea and air strikes to weaken Taiwan’s forces and gain battlefield superiority, followed by sustained airstrikes by fighters and bombers on military targets. A beheading strike in Taipei by special forces to try to seize key leaders. Well-coordinated insider acts of treason and sabotage by gangsters, planted CCP agents and other pro-China groups – the so-called “fifth column”. An amphibious assault with close air support by fighter jets, helicopters, and fighter drones at one or more locations in Taiwan and very likely capturing a major port such as Keelung, Taipei Port, Taichung, or Kaohsiung. Then hundreds of thousands of troops would advance until the island was occupied. At least that would be the plan. The PLA’s success in such an endeavor is very unclear. But they could do a hell of a lot of damage trying. And yes, they might actually succeed, at least partially, e.g. B. by capturing and holding the region around Taipei.
Scenario 5: Worst case scenario (without nuclear weapons). Total air and sea blockade, massive ballistic missile attacks on military targets, massive cyber attack, aggressive sea and air strikes to weaken Taiwan’s armed forces and gain battlefield superiority, followed by air strikes by fighter planes and bombers on military targets and carpet bombing to civilian targets. Losses are massive and Taiwan is crushed with brute force, capitulating, after which the occupying forces invade and take over the country.
The mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, the Global Times, warned yesterday of retaliatory measures by Beijing, that will not only hit Pelosi and the Biden administration, but will set back the entire Sino-US relationship. Will the top democratic politician actually dare to do this?