China’s military rise is a problem for US president

China has been rapidly expanding its arms in recent years, and many of its activities not only in the Taiwan Sea but also in the South China Sea, the East China Sea and the Indo-Pacific region, including the China-India border, have caused unease among its neighbors. After the U.S. elects its next president, observers say China’s military rise is a serious challenge that U.S. leaders must face.

U.S. Navy retired admiral James Ellis (James Ellis) in 1996, the third crisis in the Taiwan Strait, had commanded the “Independence” aircraft carrier battle group and coordinate another “Nimitz” aircraft carrier battle group, in the waters near Taiwan to deal with the tension that China’s missile test may be on the verge of launch.

But he lamented a few days ago, “I really can’t command two carrier battle groups today, as I was able to do 24 years ago without danger.

Ellis, in a discussion at the Hoover Institution on the rise of China and the prospects for security in the Indo-Pacific, referred to the contrast between the PLA’s current and past capabilities and the crises it has caused in the region. He said that in 1996 the PLA lagged substantially behind the United States in many areas, but by the beginning of the mid-2000s it was able to challenge U.S. dominance in the region.

Ellis said the situation in the Taiwan Strait is now in a dangerous period, with China’s military coercion of Taiwan intensifying, a view shared by many defense experts who believe the U.S. must be able and prepared to deal with the changes in the Taiwan Strait.

Ellis, who is currently a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, said that since Xi Jinping’s speech last year alleging that Taiwan’s reunification with China was a historical necessity for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the PLA has been increasing its military pressure on Taiwan for months, with military aircraft crossing what has long been considered the median line of the maritime boundary, “even going so far as to publicly deny the existence of this median line,” and holding military exercises in the waters near Taiwan, leading many defense experts to a common conclusion.

“We, or some of us, already share the view that of all the possible points of friction with China in the area of national security, many defense strategists have identified a conflict against Taiwan as the primary hypothetical scenario.”

Ellis said these defense experts believe that the U.S. defense sector must focus on preparing with regional allies to deal with the changing face of Taiwan, more than any other hypothetical scenario.

“The U.S. must be able to defend Taiwan effectively because it is important to thwart China’s strategy to reach regional hegemony and to adapt the U.S. military to have the capability to defend Taiwan. This is difficult but necessary to give the United States the ability to defend other Asian allies from Chinese aggression.”

Ellis also stressed that Taiwan must have the determination and preparedness to defend itself and the expenditure to improve its defense capabilities, otherwise relying on U.S. assistance alone is not enough, for example, during the 1959 Golden Gate crisis, the U.S. used six carrier battle groups to be able to provide the necessary supplies for Taiwanese ships; during the 1996 Taiwan Sea crisis, while his carrier battle group was already in the nearby waters and able to respond within a few hours, it took 10 days for the second carrier battle group to arrive on the ground.

On the part dealing with the U.S., Ellis said that unless or until the U.S. is able to adjust its regional commitments, what the U.S. must do to comply with those commitments includes revisiting procurement priorities, operational concepts, deployment postures, and political-military relationships with regional partners. In addition, he also said the U.S. must engage with Beijing to reduce the likelihood of any U.S.-China confrontation with force.

“You have no idea how much of a role a silent military plays behind all that polite and pleasant diplomacy,” Ellis said, quoting former U.S. diplomat George Kennan in a 1946 speech at the U.S. National War College.

Phillip Saunders, director of the Center for Chinese Military Studies at the National Defense University, argued that despite China’s rapid military expansion, “the U.S. military still has a significant qualitative and quantitative advantage over the PLA, especially if the U.S. has time to redeploy its forces in a protracted conflict. “

In another Hoover Institution discussion last month on security and defense in the Indo-Pacific region, Sanders analyzed U.S.-China military developments and the military conflict in the Taiwan Strait, noting that the PLA has indeed made rapid strides in the past 20 to 25 years, capable of conducting exercises with three fleets and more than 150 warships simultaneously, but that they still do not have an ocean-going capability.

He said the PLA’s aircraft carrier design lags decades behind that of the United States, and while their fighter jets have new engines and advanced anti-ship missiles, their design is based on a 1950s Soviet design. Organizationally, the PLA’s original goal was to respond to limited border conflicts, but over the past 15 years it has begun to focus on developing military delivery capabilities and improving joint warfighting capabilities between the different services.

Sanders pointed out that the U.S.-China Indo-Pacific competition has involved traditional military dimensions, while the PLA’s greatest advantage is its geographic location, especially in the conflict near the periphery, it has the ability to use land-based missiles to deliver across the water, while the United States must deploy military forces and respond to China’s area denial (A2/AD) obstruction.

But in his analysis of China’s military options against Taiwan, Sanders said that the PLA’s ability to take military action against Taiwan, which include a blockade, naval and air missile attacks, military aggression and gray-band coercion below military conflict, carries significant risk.

“The PLA has made much progress militarily, and even more progress relative to Taiwan’s military capabilities, but its challenge is to translate that capability into the political outcome it wants, which is reunification. The costs and risks of implementing these military options are extremely high, and Chinese leaders who fail in this attempt are risking their political lives,” Sanders said.

The spate of Chinese military aircraft incursions into Taiwan’s southwestern airspace and across the centerline of the strait has been increasing, with Taiwan’s Defense Ministry saying that on Monday (Nov. 2) alone, the PLA made eight sorties into Taiwan’s southwestern airspace.

Regardless of the purpose of China’s military pressure on Taiwan, former U.S. officials and analysts have warned of the intentions of the authorities in Beijing.

Daniel Blumenthal, who served as the Defense Department’s senior director for China, Taiwan and Mongolia in the George W. Bush administration, called on U.S. leaders to heed Beijing’s warnings in an article published last week. He said, “Xi Jinping is sounding the war drums against Taiwan. The U.S. must listen.”

Bu Danian, who is currently director of Asian studies at the American Enterprise Institute, noted that while Beijing’s coercion of a democratic Taiwan is “almost the norm,” there are four reasons why the PLA’s recent actions must be taken seriously, including the epidemic and economic slowdown that has affected Xi Jinping’s attempts to seek nationalist victories from abroad; more military options for the more lethal PLA; the need to reverse the Trump administration’s closer ties with Taiwan; and the Communist Party’s view of the U.S. as “hopelessly divided and chaotic.

However, Bu also said that the current danger is not a real invasion, because “Beijing does not want an all-out war with the United States,” but simply wants to use force to embarrass Washington and Taipei, either by seizing an outlying island, or by increasing the air and missile threat and making its military display of power unbearable, or by… Launching a massive cyber and information attack “is focused on confronting Washington with a very complex situation and creating a political crisis for Taipei.”

There is still time to stop this bad situation from happening, said Bu Dahnen, who made recommendations that include statements by Trump and Biden stating that the U.S. opposes any use of force against Taiwan and interference in democratic political actions; sending a team of U.S. military and civilian advisers to Taiwan to help secure critical infrastructure and counter information and cyber attacks; and maintaining a continuous presence of U.S. ships and aircraft around the Taiwan Sea.

In addition, Bu also suggested that the U.S. government engage in high-level private diplomacy with the Chinese leadership to show that military coercion cannot achieve the political results they want, and that the U.S. should outline the possible consequences if China does not back down, from recognizing Taiwan as a country to signing a defense treaty to stationing troops in Taiwan, also known as “active deterrence by denial”; and urge the Chinese Communist Party and Taipei to resume direct negotiations over their differences.

In a recent article in The Atlantic, Michael Schuman, a former Time magazine correspondent in Beijing, also reminded all sides to keep an eye on Taiwan.

He said that Taiwan is one of those “unexploded hotspots,” and that for decades the dispute over Taiwan’s future has had the potential to spark a conflict between the United States and China, but that fears of a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan have never materialized, and the situation has remained deadlocked.

Beijing has become more confident after gaining further control over Hong Kong by implementing national security laws, but Schumann said the international community’s reaction has been very limited, which has also made the Taiwan government and those who are concerned about Taiwan very worried, while China’s recent increased military pressure on Taiwan, the intrusion into Taiwan’s airspace and deliberate crossing of the centerline of the Taiwan Sea, all show that Beijing is pressing forward, not only to intimidate Taiwan, but also to challenge the dominant position of the United States in Asia.

Schumann said Taiwan Foreign Minister Wu Zhao Xie told him that China’s hostility toward Taiwan, the suppression of democracy activists in Hong Kong, the border dispute with India, the detention of Uighurs in Xinjiang, etc., these actions reflect “China’s authoritarian government is expanding its influence in the world,” and Taiwan is at the forefront of this expansion.

For this reason, Schumann said, Taiwan will be Washington’s “ultimate test” in Asia. “If Beijing dares to violate Taiwan, what happens next will determine whether China or the United States will dominate the Pacific.” If Washington is unable to stand with Taiwan, the US-dominated alliance system here is likely to collapse and the US power position will be buried, so “the game against Taiwan may be a remnant of the Cold War, but it will determine the future.”