Could Taiwan win a war with China?


“China says it has filed an official protest over plans by the United States to sell military equipment to Taiwan,” reports VOA.

  • A foreign ministry spokesman today said that “Washington’s plan to sell Taipei $330 million of spare parts for the F-16 fighter jet, the C-130 cargo plane and other military aircraft violates international laws.”
  • The deal “will damage China-U.S bilateral ties, peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, and China’s cooperation in other issues,” the spokesman said, who then “demanded the cancellation of the deal,” according to VOA. Xinhua has a slightly different version of his remarks.  

One of the reasons that China is so sensitive to arms sales to Taiwan may be that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) believes it might lose a war with the island’s military. On Foreign Policy, Tanner Greer says that “Beijing boasts it can seize the island easily. The PLA knows better.” It’s worth reading the whole well-argued thing, but this is the key point:

Chinese commanders fear they may be forced into armed contest with an enemy that is better trained, better motivated, and better prepared for the rigors of warfare than troops the PLA could throw against them… The Taiwanese do not need parity to deter Chinese aggression. All they need is the freedom to purchase the sort of arms that make invasion unthinkable. If that political battle can be resolved in the halls of Washington, the party will not have the power to threaten battle on the shores of Taiwan.