Taiwan defense ministry says full Chinese invasion would be very difficult

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Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said on Monday that a full Chinese invasion would be difficult for the country to achieve, citing the military challenges and geographical obstacles that would stand in the way. 

The ministry said in a threat assessment report obtained by Reuters that China would need to use “non-standard” roll-on, roll-off ships in order to invade the island nation, while forces would also need access to port facilities and airports.

“However, the nation’s military strongly defends ports and airports, and they will not be easy to occupy in a short time. Landing operations will face extremely high risks,” said the ministry.

If Chinese forces were able to get into Taiwan, they would need to be resupplied, with things like weapons, food and medicine having to be moved across the Taiwan Strait, which is more than 100 miles wide.

“The nation’s military has the advantage of the Taiwan Strait being a natural moat and can use joint intercept operations, cutting off the Communist military’s supplies, severely reducing the combat effectiveness and endurance of the landing forces,” the ministry added.

“U.S. and Japanese military bases are close to Taiwan, and any Chinese Communist attack would necessarily be closely monitored, plus it would need to reserve forces to prevent foreign military intervention,” said the ministry.

Earlier this month, a U.S. defense official said there was an “urgent” need to enhance defenses in Taiwan as the threat of China annexing the country was “real and dangerous.”

“Bolstering Taiwan’s defenses is an urgent task,” said Ely Ratner, the assistant secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs. “We are modernizing our capabilities, updating U.S. force posture and developing new operational concepts.”

Last month, the White House was forced to walk back comments Biden made during a CNN town hall about defending Taiwan should China invade the island. 

“Yes. We have a commitment,” Biden said when asked if the U.S. would defend Taiwan should China attack, apparently breaking from the U.S. policy of “strategic ambiguity” around Taiwan-China relations. 

“There has been no shift,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the next day. “The president was not announcing any change in our policy, nor has he made a decision to change our policy.”

Tags China Cross-Strait relations Jen Psaki Politics of Taiwan Republic of China Armed Forces Taiwan

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