American fantasy

War game instigates US intervention in possible Taiwan Straits conflict By Liu Xuanzun, Jan 10, 2023

The amphibious dock landing ships Wuzhishan (Hull 987), Kunlunshan (Hull 998) and Changbaishan (Hull 989) attached to a landing ship flotilla with the navy under the PLA Southern Theater Command steam alongside in waters of the South China Sea during a maritime training exercise on November 18, 2020. The exercise lasted four days, focusing on 10 subjects including comprehensive defense, Landing Craft Air Cushion’s (LCAC) transfer, visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operation, and live-fire operations.

A recent war game scenario run by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) is not worthy of reference, as it was designed to hype the “China threat” theory, and to suggest the US should fully arm the island of Taiwan preemptively, and instigate the US military to immediately intervene if a conflict breaks out, Chinese mainland experts said on Tuesday.

The US think tank said the simulations indicate the US, Japan and the island of Taiwan would suffer huge losses in defeating the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) if a conflict breaks out in the Taiwan Straits in 2026.

From a technical point of view, the simulations are biased and set under a scenario of wishful thinking, as they underestimated the PLA’s capabilities and overestimated US and Japanese forces, analysts said.

If the Chinese mainland launches a reunification-by-force operation on the island of Taiwan in 2026, it would result in thousands of casualties among Chinese mainland, US, Japanese and Taiwan island forces in a likely defeat of the PLA, which will also leave the US in a crippled state, the CSIS said after running this war game 24 times, CNN reported on Monday.

In the simulations, the US and Japan lost dozens of ships, hundreds of aircraft and thousands of service members, which would damage the US’ global position for many years, according to the CSIS report, which also predicted losses of two US nuclear-powered aircraft carriers in most scenarios and the devastation of the island of Taiwan.

The Chinese mainland would also suffer heavily, losing about 10,000 troops, 155 combat aircraft and 138 vessels, the report claimed.

Such war game simulations are by no means professional, Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

It is impossible for the US think tank to gain access to the PLA’s force deployment and equipment specifications in detail, so the data it used in the simulations are obviously biased and mere wishful thinking, Wei said.

“For example, the think tank predicted the sinking of two US nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. That is too small a number,” Wei said, citing the PLA’s missile strike capabilities working in tandem with naval and air forces.

The PLA operates DF-21D and DF-26 anti-ship ballistic missiles capable of striking moving maritime targets like aircraft carriers at hypersonic speeds against which there is no defense, observers said.

On Sunday, the PLA Eastern Theater Command organized cross-service joint alert patrol and realistic combat-oriented exercises in sea and aerial areas around the island of Taiwan, countering collusion between and provocations by external and “Taiwan independence” forces. Some 57 aircraft and four vessels of the PLA were detected around the island of Taiwan on the day, with 28 of the detected aircraft including fighters, bombers and drones crossing the so-called median line of the Taiwan Straits and entering the island’s self-proclaimed southwest air defense identification zone, according to a press release by the defense authority on Monday.

It marked the first time the PLA Eastern Theater Command has announced a joint drill around the island of Taiwan in 2023, but such drills have become routine since at least 2020, and have grown with the increasing provocations by Taiwan secessionists and external interference forces.

In 2022, the PLA sent 1,727 planes into the island of Taiwan’s self-proclaimed air defense identification zone, compared with about 960 incursions in 2021 and 380 in 2020, AFP reported, citing releases by the defense authority on the island.

The PLA’s exercises have demonstrated that the Chinese mainland has the confidence, the will and the capability to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, another Chinese mainland military expert told the Global Times on Tuesday, requesting anonymity.

If the US and Japan interfere in the Taiwan question militarily, not only will the US lose its nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, it will lose all of its footholds in the Asia-Pacific region, including military bases in Japan, Guam and even Australia, the expert said.

One thing is right about the CSIS’ war game predictions, and that is that the US and Japan will definitely be left crippled if they interfere in the Taiwan question, the expert said.

The PLA Navy’s Liaoning aircraft carrier group approached Guam and conducted fighter jet sortie drills there in December 2022.

Citing the CSIS report, CNN said that for US troops to prevent the Chinese mainland from ultimately taking control of the island of Taiwan, some constants emerged among the 24 war game iterations it ran, including that the US must be able to use its bases in Japan for combat operations and that the US needs to fully arm Taiwan before shooting starts and jump into any conflict with its own forces immediately, as it is impossible to get troops and supplies onto the island of Taiwan once the conflict starts.

This is intentionally instigating the US and Japan to militarily interfere in the Taiwan question and encourage “Taiwan independence” forces in their secessionist moves, analysts said.

The ill-intended war game will only give the “Taiwan independence” secessionist and external interference forces a false vision that will lead them to their doom. On the contrary, they should refrain from any military moves, fully understand that Taiwan is a part of China, realize the deterrent in the form of the PLA, and not overestimate their capabilities, experts said.

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