Saturday, March 2, 2024

Can Beijing impose a blockade on Taiwan before 2027?

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Rather than a risky and costly amphibious action, the hypothesis of a blockade of Taiwan imposed by the Chinese Navy and the air forces of the People's Liberation Army now appears the most likely to intervene quickly, according to several specialists in the field. subject.

A few days ago, the American Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Gilday, insisted on the risks of a hypothetical conflict between the People's Republic of China and Taiwan over a shortened timetable.

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For the American officer, the US Navy now estimates that a Chinese offensive against the autonomous island since 1949 is probable by 2027 , and could even occur in the very near future, specifying that the window of opportunity had already started.

His remarks were widely accredited by the declarations of President Xi Jinping on the occasion of the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, but also by the reorganization of the Chinese high command which followed, putting at the head of the People's Liberation Army renowned general officers for their experience and loyalty to the Chinese president.

The hypothesis of an increasingly credible blockade of Taiwan

It is in this context that the director of the Taiwanese National Security Bureau, Chen Ming-tong, spoke about the updating of the Chinese threat on the island . According to him, there is little doubt that Beijing wants to accelerate its entire timetable aimed at reintegrating the island into the People's Republic of China.

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Like Admiral Gilday, he believes that China could undertake operations aimed at forcing Taiwan into submission to Beijing by force, as early as 2023.

According to him, the hypothesis of a blockade of the island is today the most probable, and this could take place as early as next year, knowing that the capture of Taiwan now constitutes a key marker of political action of Xi Jinping, and that it seems essential that this is effectively carried out before the end of his 3rd mandate in 2027, especially if he intends, as is likely, to run for other mandates subsequently.

Blockade of Taiwan will require a large fleet of tanker aircraft like the YU-20
The Chinese air force has around thirty Y-20 heavy transport aircraft, but only around ten of these aircraft dedicated to in-flight refueling, an insufficient fleet to support a naval blockade around Taiwan.

However, imposing a naval and air blockade of the island will be an arduous action for the Chinese forces to carry out, especially in 2023 when the transformation of the People's Liberation Army will have only achieved half of its objectives. .

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The power of the Chinese Navy and Air Force

Thus, on this date, the Chinese Navy will have 3 aircraft carriers, 55 modern attack submarines including 6 nuclear-powered, 10 large amphibious assault ships supported by 40 smaller assault ships. , 8 cruisers, 45 destroyers, 30 frigates and fifty anti-submarine corvettes.

In the air, Beijing will be able to rely on 1,600 modern fighters and fighter-bombers, including around a hundred 5th generation J-20s and 200 long-range bombers, but only 60 heavy transport planes, 35 Awacs and barely as many tanker planes.

While such a force is undoubtedly more than significant, it is not exempt from certain weaknesses that could undermine the application of a blockade strategy against Taiwan.

The current limits of the Chinese Navy

LOGO meta defense 70 Tensions China vs Taiwan | Defense Analysis | Amphibious assault

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Fabrice Wolf
Fabrice Wolf
A former French naval aeronautics pilot, Fabrice is the editor and main author of the site. His areas of expertise are military aeronautics, defense economics, air and submarine warfare, and Akita inu.

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