After a humiliating defeat in Afghanistan, the USA is about to lose another war likely to come.
Taiwan participates in APEC, not as an independent country, but as a “member economy” under the name of “Chinese Taipei”. This format is acceptable to Beijing.
But Cold-Warrior Biden (declared foreign-policy genius by the New York Times) and the USA want to create conflict with China on an unprecedented level of risk. Biden therefore wants to invite Taiwan’s regional leader Tsai Ing-wen to Biden’s anti-China-Russia “conference of democracies” later this year. Probably together with such Western democracies as Saudi Arabia. That will be a de-facto recognition of Tsai Ing-wen as a head of state, and thereby also de-facto an official recognition of Taiwan as an independent state.
China, of course, cannot live with that.
China therefore in the official media Global Times now threatens to respond by once and for all ending Taiwan’s pretension of independence through forcing Beijing’s control on Taiwan’s airspace:
China must clearly show its stance: We will definitely not accept the US to invite Taiwan regional leader Tsai Ing-wen to participate in the meeting. Allowing Tsai to attend a meeting and show on the screen with the heads of various countries and governments will gravely violate the one-China principle.
“The air over the island of Taiwan will be included in the cruise range of the PLA. The fighters will declare that the land underneath is Chinese territory and will crush all attempts to use the Taiwan question as a bargaining chip with China. If the Taiwan military dares to open fire on the PLA fighters, the large number of missiles aimed at Taiwan’s military targets from the mainland and our bomber fleets will make a decisive answer and write history. See this.
China taking over control of Taiwan’s airspace will most likely happen anyway – now probably sooner rather than later. It is important to note that China is already actively preparing for this future by sending PLA combat aircraft over Taiwan. So far only as incursions, but those ”incursions” can soon be turned into permanent Chinese air patrols over Taiwan.
China taking over control of Taiwan’s airspace are not empty threats from Beijing. The Chinese are much too clever to be caught in making this an empty threat. China has since long acquired the military capability to win a battle against the USA about the Taiwan Strait and control of Taiwan’s airspace. Already in 2015, China had 39 major air bases within 800 km of Taiwan – the USA only has one (Okinawa). Since 2015, China has further widened her military advantage over the US on Taiwan.
The aircraft carriers of the US Navy (of which due to maintenance-cycles probably only a handful will be deployable around Taiwan at any given time) will not change this calculation significantly. It should be noted too, that China’s air bases also give China a strategic defense advantage of depth, compared to the single-point operational facilities of the USA on Okinawa and on a handful of deployable aircraft carriers, which are all vulnerable to China’s carrier-killer missiles.
On top of China’s complete superiority in bases for combat aircraft around Taiwan comes that China has more than 1,000 missiles pointed at Taiwan – and Beijing is ready to fire them.
On the sea, though US Navy ships are on average larger, China’s PLA Navy has more ships than the USA.
All Beijing needs to do is to suppress Taiwan’s air defense, outcombat their air force, and degrade Taiwan’s airports and ports just enough to stop all civil traffic and goods transport. Taiwan’s population and main infrastructure will remain nearly intact, but Taiwan is rendered defenseless and cut off. Beijing can then negotiate Taipei’s surrender.
Peaceful take-over or war. In any case, the USA will lose control over Taiwan and in all East Asia, and the USA thereby totally loses its place in the World. But if in a war, the US will lose its global position in a bloody and cataclysmic way. The US may in such a war lose half of the US Navy, which is the foundation for US power projection in the World. China is prepared to bear enormous sacrifice in life and treasure for Taiwan – the American people is not. Japan is also not. China also no longer depends on US trade, finance, or technology. The USA is over-indebted. A catastrophic US defeat in a Taiwan war which the USA can only lose, will necessarily bring about a total social collapse inside the USA.
Biden is not mentally capable of very much – also not of backing down from his invitation of Tsai Ing-wen to officially represent Taiwan as a de-facto independent state. And China is not politically capable of backing down from her threat to respond by forcefully bringing Taiwan’s airspace – and thereby all the island of Taiwan – under Beijing’s full control.
War on Taiwan is therefore now the most likely scenario.