China has high U.S. wall to scale for amphibious attack on Taiwan

USS Ronal Raegan

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By Rahul Kumar Dubey

New Delhi, August 8: The only way China can occupy Taiwan is by mounting an amphibious attack on the island nation. China has twin challenges to fulfil its President Xi Jinping’s unification aim – launch a successful amphibious attack by destroying the modern U.S. defence for the Pacific nations and survive the treacherous mountainous terrains in Taiwan.

The series of events which took place on 2nd of August pertaining to Ms. Pelosi’s visit was necessitated to counter China’s long-standing rhetoric of intimidation.

Despite China threatening the U.S. “not to play with fire”, the Speaker of the U.S. House of the Representatives Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taipei to demonstrate her support to democracy.

She became the most senior U.S. official to visit Taiwan after a gap of 25 years.

Predictably, China resorted to demonstrate its fire-power, shooting off missiles, with some of them landing in the exclusive economic zones of Japan.

Speaking to The Raisina Hills in a video interaction, Major General (Retired) S B Asthana said that China can only occupy Taiwan by launching a successful amphibious attack on the island nation, while armies of the two countries have family relations, which may make the war a distant possibility.

Taiwan is within reach of a few hours or less of three U.S. carrier combat groups — USS Ronald Reagan, USS Tripoli, and USS America.

They together ensure the safety and security of the Pacific nations against China’s muscle-flexing.

While USS Tripoli is in the waters south of Okinawa and can be covered by aircraft stationed at U.S. bases on the island, as well as by her own air complement, the Carrier Strike Group built around the USS Ronald Reagan, a nuclear-powered supercarrier, had been operating in the South China Sea.

The two hold enough capabilities to block Chinese PLA in the waters surrounding Taiwan.

The group has since moved to a new station in the Philippines Sea off the east coast of Luzon in the Philippines, which is south of Taiwan.

The amphibious assault ship USS America is thought to be in port at Sasebo, Japan, although it is capable of leaving port swiftly if necessary.

The USS Tripoli’s location would also let Okinawa, Japan-based F-35Bs to land on her deck, refuel, and rearm while en route to or from a target at sea. Since US carriers passed across the Taiwan Straits in 1995, this is the U.S.’ most significant force projection.

The strategic experts have concurred that China will only demonstrate muscle flexing and not resort to an actual attack on Taiwan, the focus is now clearly shifting on possible ways of containing Beijing’s expansionism.

China undermines the notion of ‘One India’ by opposing the status of Jammu and Kashmir, and Arunachal Pradesh.

This is in contrast to Beijing’s insistence for recognition of ‘One China’ policy.

China has previously condemned India’s claimed plans to hold the G-20 conference in Jammu and Kashmir, echoing Pakistan’s criticism.

Furthermore, India should not be afraid to establish official diplomatic links with Taiwan.

Taiwan, an island nation of 23 million people, has stood against the full might of China.

Though India has had active interaction with Taiwan in the past, giving a strong message to China, with two Members of Parliament, Meenakshi Lekhi and Rahul Kaswan, attending Taiwan President’s swearing in ceremony virtually in May 2020, New Delhi should promote its position more forcefully than before.

While condoling the death of former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui in August 2020, India referred to him as “Mr Democracy,” which was interpreted as a message to Beijing.

It’s time for India to vouch for the sovereignty of other democracy, realising its status as the Mother of Democracy.

(Author is a senior researcher with Public Policy Research Centre)

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