Chinese Invasion of Taiwan Predicted to Fail: U.S. Think Tank

Chess pieces are seen in front of displayed China and Taiwan’s flags in this illustration taken January 25, 2022.

Washington, Jan. 11 (Jiji Press)—A Chinese invasion of Taiwan in 2026 would end in failure for Beijing, war game simulations by a U.S. think tank have shown.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies, however, warned that “even a successful defense of Taiwan comes at great cost,” with China and Taiwan, as well as Japan and the United States, seen sustaining many casualties and a great deal of damage.

“What was once unthinkable—direct conflict between the United States and China—has now become a commonplace discussion in the national security community,” the CSIS said in a report released Monday.

Noting that very little material on war game simulations on a possible conflict over Taiwan is available to the public, the think tank said that it ran 24 war game iterations in hopes of broadening discussions.

According to the report, Taiwan would remain autonomous in most scenarios, with the allied forces of Taiwan, Japan and the United States defeating a “conventional amphibious invasion” by China.

If, however, Japan and the United States decide not to intervene and Taiwan is left alone to defend itself, a Beijing victory would result.

Still, the report warned that “human, economic, military, and political costs loom over even a successful defense” of Taiwan, adding that such costs would be “enormous.”

It predicted that such a conflict would leave long-term damage to the global position of the United States, deal a devastating blow to the Taiwanese economy and destabilize the rule of the Communist Party of China.

The CSIS explored several scenarios centered around Japan’s involvement in the defense of Taiwan, including ones in which Tokyo would maintain neutrality, grant the use of U.S. bases in Japan or take part in combat.

The think tank chose as its base case a scenario in which Japan might join in combat following attacks on Japanese bases and U.S. bases in Japan.

According to the report, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces would lose 90 to 161 aircraft and 14 to 26 ships in one to three weeks of combat.

Most scenarios showed that the joint forces of Taiwan, the United States and Japan would suffer huge losses, including the destruction of bases in Japan and Guam as well as the loss of the lives of tens of thousands of soldiers and two U.S. aircraft carriers.

China would also sustain heavy losses to its navy, and tens of thousands of its soldiers would be killed, the report said.

The report did not consider the possible use of nuclear weapons.

“The United States should harden bases, work with allies, particularly Japan for additional basing options, continue to make its forces more survivable and buy more long-range missiles, particularly antiship missiles,” said CSIS senior adviser Mark Cancain, an author of the report.