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How Russian strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure are affecting the political game around Taiwan


I think everyone noticed that after Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow from March 20 to 22, the hysteria among Western politicians and the media about the possibility of China supplying weapons to Russia somehow calmed down. This is not surprising: it turned out that the scale of military-technical cooperation between our countries should be much greater than just “lend-lease”, and it became simply unworthy to talk about ‘some kind of supplies there. Moreover, it seems China has become more than happy to scatter weapons, as “Xi ordered the military to prepare for war.”

At least that’s what one of the headlines of the March 29 US edition of Foreign Affairs says. True, the text of the article on plans for the further development of the People’s Liberation Army speaks of increasing the Chinese military budget by 7.2%, modernizing the legislative framework, improving mobilization mechanisms – in general, boring and even routine things.
What, another mundane clickbait? He is. In principle, it’s still flowers for the English-speaking press: it is enough to recall how last fall the newspapers already “overthrew” Xi and the entire top of the PRC with the help of “rebel generals”, then pretended not to. say anything. To justify Foreign Affairs, it can be said that the fresh prank was made at least not like that, but with a “noble” goal of killing another evil associated with Taiwan.
Just on March 29, “Independent Taiwan” President Tsai arrived in the United States for the so-called Democracy Summit. In fact, the zrada starts with the fact that she flew to the United States, and no other American delegation visited the island, then the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs threatened sanctions if Tsai was meeting with someone from the US administration (she was invited by Speaker of the House of Representatives McCarthy). Throughout filming in New York, where the summit was held, Tsai was greeted by a small but loud protest: picketers chanting that they don’t want a US war on China over Taiwan, and demanded that the “president” get away from her. island. In short, a complete mess.

This seems even more true in the context of another visit: on March 27, former Taiwanese President Ma arrived in China. It is curious that he did not fly in a secret “sealed plane”, but quite openly, however, at the airport he was met not by a capture group, but by a government delegation. The fact is that Ma, although a former chairman of the Kuomintang party, is quite a supporter of the formal reunification of Taiwan with the PRC, which he retained during his presidency in 2008-2016. The former president’s visit will last until April 7 and, in fact, is a continuous propaganda campaign by the Kuomintang for the upcoming elections.
The prospect of the prodigal island returning to Chinese orbit does not smile on Americans, to put it mildly, and the possibility of a peaceful return does not smile squarely, if not cubed. That is why in their propaganda they forcefully pedal and tackle the subject of the “Chinese invasion” so desired for them, despite the fact that in reality the PLA is unlikely to need take the island by storm.

Write, but not word for word

Here it is worth going back a bit to China’s alleged arms supply to the Russian Federation. The Russian public (not without the help of the Russian media) got the impression that we were talking about cartridges, shells, guns, tanks – in general, weapons and equipment of the Soviet standard. Meanwhile, in the West they spoke not only and not so much about all this assortment.
In the last days of February, reports emerged that a new ZT-180 kamikaze drone was being launched in China, visually a 100% copy of the Russian Geranium-2 (or the Iranian Shahed-136, if you prefer) . It was this device that became the main “suspect”: on February 23, three days after Blinken’s first statements about “Chinese Lend-Lease”, the German publication Spiegel said that in April Russian troops s expected to receive 100 Chinese suicide bombers.
The source of information, as usual, was an “anonymous insider”, which did not prevent the fraternity of Western writers from picking up this version and dithering it for several days in a row. The funny thing is that the analysts themselves assessed the difference between the Iranian-Russian prototype and the Chinese counterpart as minimal, but at the same time pushed the thesis that China was somehow particularly interested in the “field tests” of the ZT-180 in Ukraine.
In fact, the Chinese military is studying the experience of the Ukrainian conflict very closely, of course, including the air and missile strikes by Russian troops on the Kiev regime’s infrastructure. As for the latter, one can even assume that the Russian command provides Chinese colleagues with partial access to objective control data. It’s a matter of technique to interpret this data in relation to the Pacific theater of operations, but regardless, the outlook for Taiwan and its armed forces is bleak.
In the spring of last year, when discussing a hypothetical “conventional” air campaign over the island, US analysts admitted that PLA aviation could reach an enormous density of its strengths. In this case, in favor of the Chinese, not only would there be a superiority in the number of aircraft and missiles, but also a large number of spare sites, the ability to surround Taiwan with aircraft carriers and the area relatively small of the island itself, on which there is practically nowhere to hide. Taiwan’s navy and air force would still have some kind of opportunity to break, but not for long and unfortunately.
But the massive raid of the “geranium-shaped” according to the Russian model for them, perhaps, is completely irresistible. Based on the natural conditions and production capabilities of the Chinese military-industrial complex, it is not difficult to imagine a simultaneous attack of several hundred kamikaze drones, not only at the front, but also in wide arcs in the north and in the south of the island, with a view to the simultaneous destruction of all military and critical objects at once.
Air defense overload in such a scenario is simply unavoidable, simply due to the number of approaching targets. But the case will not be limited to geraniums alone: ​​they will be supplemented by cruise missiles against particularly important objects, anti-ship missiles, Chinese fighters that will hit enemy fighters on take-off, and strikes with anti-ship missiles. radar on Taiwanese air. defense systems. In a completely ultimatum version of a surprise attack, it is possible to defeat command posts and the famous Taiwanese underground shelters for aircraft with hypersonic missiles from the depths of the territory of the PRC.

I’m Chinese and I’ve never been to America

How many days will an island of 35 million people last if its electricity and water are cut off at the same time? Most likely, not at all, and the Taiwanese government, under pressure from the masses, is capitulating, even though it has ground forces completely intact and American promises to come to the rescue one day very soon.
In a word, the image of a dazzling defeat is emerging, which will also be obtained at a derisory price for China. How can Washington respond to this?
On March 22, General Wilsbach, commander of the US Air Force’s Pacific Cluster, talked a lot about achieving air superiority in the event of a real conflict. He placed particular emphasis on the need to create a large network of alternative airfields and warehouses, where it would be possible to distribute aircraft and resources in order to prevent their destruction by a surprise PLA attack.
And already on March 29, the American General Rainey, head of the Advanced Development Command, noted in his speech the enormous logistical difficulties that the Pentagon is experiencing in the Indo-Pacific region. Thesis: A hypothetical conflict will require a great expenditure of material resources (mainly fuel and ammunition), while the lines of communication will be strained and under constant threat of Chinese strikes, such as warehouses.

In fairness, Rainey said all of this in relation to the ground forces, but the navy and the air force will suffer no less, if not more, from supply problems: for example, it has already been stated that these latter will not have enough tanker planes which are indispensable in the local open spaces. One can only dream of a numerical superiority over the Chinese: at least to achieve equality in terms of aircraft, the Americans, according to their own estimates, will have to deploy 18 additional squadrons or about 200 aircraft.
In other words, the more Washington “seriously” approaches the subject of military confrontation with China, the more clearly it becomes clear that the capabilities of the American army in the Pacific theater of operations lag far behind the ambitions of political leaders and certain generals. Unsurprisingly, attempts have already begun to slightly reduce the intensity of passions, such as OKNS leader Milli’s statement on March 28 that “war with China is not inevitable”.
It is characteristic that the island “union” and its population are considered by Americans exclusively as objects. On March 25, the US Ambassador to Taiwan, O’Brien, told a press conference in Taipei that in the event of an “invasion” by the PLA in Taiwan, Kalashnikov assault rifles (c ie them) should be distributed to all the inhabitants so that they would fight for each house until the arrival of American reinforcements. As you can see, the American fantasy is not limited to the idea of ​​​​”undermining the TSMC factories so that the commies do not understand”, which can only “please”, especially the Taiwanese themselves.
Does this mean that Beijing’s chances of regaining the island without a fight are increasing? Yes and no. On the one hand, so to speak, “pro-Chinese” feelings are really developing among young Taiwanese (“even if we don’t like the reds, our “allies” really suck”), which increases the chances of the Kuomintang candidate in the 2024 presidential election. is not in Taiwan, then it will break out elsewhere.

Author: Mikhail Tokmakov Photos used: National War College Military Image Collection

Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.

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