Taiwan is increasing its preparations for a possible invasion of China

(CNN) – In a normal day, they are lawyers, software engineers and killers. But this week they were armed with military equipment, fired assault rifles at numbered targets and marched long distances with full military equipment, all ready for a possible attack by the Chinese military.

Some of Taiwan’s 400 bookers are facing a tough new 14-day training program seven days before it was introduced by the government this month to boost the island’s war readiness.

Taiwan increases its preparations for the final invasion of China

Analysts say the tightening of the training program, among other things, shows how seriously Taiwan is threatening the Chinese invasion, and those fears have intensified recently, with some graphical comparisons between the beasts. Russian invasion of Ukraine And a potential existential threat to Taiwan.

Beijing Hectare Rejected similarities, The ruling Communist Party of China, despite promising to “re-integrate” the island of 24 million inhabitants, has never ruled, forcibly if necessary. Beijing has stepped up its military pressure on Taiwan, including sending a record number of fighter jets last year near Taiwan, about 200 kilometers off the southeast coast of China.

Taiwanese reserve soldiers take part in military training on March 12, 2022 at a military base in Taiwan.

This month’s increased military training has already angered Beijing, with China’s Taiwan office calling the move “provocative.”

Referring to Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party, spokesman Xu Fenglian said at a regular conference in Beijing on Wednesday that “it is very dangerous for them to continue like this.” “(They) will not hesitate to tie the people of Taiwan into the abyss of separatism and push them into the abyss of catastrophe.”

But while increased training appears to have angered Beijing, military analysts and lawmakers warn that it may not be enough to deter a possible attack by one of the world’s most powerful armies. While the war in Ukraine is taking place half the world away from Taiwan, it has sparked debate on the island about what the Taiwanese government can prepare.

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What does Taiwan do?

Even before Russia Its unprovoked attack on Ukraine last month has raised fears that Beijing could forcibly seize Taiwan.

In recent months, Beijing has been conducting combat readiness exercises near the island, including conducting regular air and naval exercises across the Taiwan Strait, including military planes that regularly fly over Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, Chinese state media reported.

Taiwan Invasion China

All eligible men between the ages of 19 and 36 must complete four months of compulsory military training in Taiwan.

Taipei responded by increasing its unbalanced combat capabilities by setting a record level of defense spending this year and another $ 8.7 billion over the next five years. China’s military bases can be targeted in the event of war.

The island’s government wants to increase the size of its military: Of the 160,000 voluntary organizations, Taiwan’s army is less than one-tenth of Beijing’s People’s Liberation Army, although it has more than a million reservists it can call. If necessary, above.

President Tsai Ing-wen pointed out that in the event of an invasion, these reserve forces would be an integral part of Taiwan’s defense alongside Ukraine, where the government was armed to protect civilians from invasion. .

“Apart from international support and assistance, the recent situation in Ukraine shows that defending our country is undermining the unity of our people,” Chai said during a training study on Saturday.

“This training mission implements a sense of complete security,” he added. “Every reservationist … must consider that war may take place in his hometown.”

Taiwan Invasion China

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen speaks while inspecting reserve training at a military base in Taiwan on March 12, 2022. (Credit: via SAM YEH / AFP Getty Images)

The “Total Security” initiative aims to develop overall military knowledge in Taiwan, which will allow the general public to mobilize if the situation calls for it.

Under current rules, all eligible Taiwanese between the ages of 19 and 36 must complete four months of compulsory military training.

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When they are done, some join the Reserve Forces, giving them additional training, and this week the 14-day training reserves joined.

It did not disclose how its reserves would be divided between ground, naval and air forces, except to say that Taiwan would be called on the basis of their areas of expertise.

This new training system is intended to allay fears that reservists may not be ready for war, but military experts say a longer period of compulsory training is really needed.

Chang Yan-ding, a former deputy commander of the Taiwan Air Force, told CNN that four months of compulsory training was “absolutely not enough.”

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Is Taiwan enough?

Last week, several lawmakers from various political parties called for an extension of Taiwan’s mandatory training period.

Wu Sz-huai, a lawmaker from the opposition Kuomintang party, said qualified men in Taiwan should receive one year of military training and return to the previous requirement, which was reduced to four months from 2018.

The New Power Party, Taiwan’s fourth largest party, a party that frequently affiliates with China’s Democratic Progressive Party, has called for the inclusion of women in non – combat training programs, especially in military equipment.

Taiwan’s president’s office told CNN on Sunday that officials were evaluating whether to expand compulsory military training on the island, and that President Chai had personally instructed the defense ministry to consider the possibility after seeing the mobilization of civilians in Ukraine, according to local media.

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Chang, a former deputy commander of the Taiwan Air Force, said there was an “urgent need” to extend compulsory military training in Taiwan, perhaps for more than a year.

“We need to update our military strategy, including extending the recruitment period so that we can teach them exactly how to position themselves during the war and how to handle anti-tank missiles and other equipment,” Chang said.

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The Taipei-based Global Institute is home to Taiwan’s senior colleague J.S. Michael Cole said the island should increase its military capability and be prepared to face any contingency.

“The events in Russia, the assumptions that the authoritarian leadership will always make rational decisions, have been completely destroyed by Vladimir Putin in his decision to invade Ukraine,” he said.

“Just because his friend in Moscow decided to use force against Ukraine does not mean that Xi Jinping will decide tomorrow to use force against Taiwan,” he said. “But it makes clear that there is a possibility that authoritarian regimes, for their own reasons, will use force against a democracy, determined by their own calculations – albeit a slim one.”

Lessons from Ukraine for the dispute between Taiwan and China

Beijing has rejected comparisons between Taiwan and Ukraine, and China’s ambassador to the United States wrote in this week’s post in the Washington Post that visitors were wrong to compare them.

“Taiwan’s future lies in the peaceful development of cross – water relations and the reunification of China,” Kin Kang wrote. “The Taiwan issue is China’s internal affair. There is no point in insisting on a sovereign policy in Ukraine while harming China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in Taiwan.”

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Experts agree that there are big differences between Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

Unlike Ukraine, Taiwan is an island, which means Beijing will have to launch one of the largest waterfall attacks in history. Thanks to Taiwan’s physical proximity and importance to Japan, 100 kilometers from Taiwan, a possible invasion could trigger a regional response.

In addition, Taiwan is a world leader in supplying semiconductor chips, which are needed to power everything from smartphones to cars, so an invasion can have a ripple effect around the world.

“It changes the way the international community calculates its response to the threat or invasion of Taiwan,” Cole said.

However, there are lessons to be learned from the situation in Ukraine to prepare Taiwan, analysts say.

“The lesson is clear from Ukraine,” said Zhang, a former deputy commander of Taiwan’s air force. “We have a responsibility to protect our own country.”

With information from John Mees and Will Ripley.

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