Taiwan: War Game Simulation Suggests Chinese Invasion of Taiwan Would Fail at Huge Cost to US, Chinese and Taiwan Armies


A Chinese invasion of Taiwan in 2026 would result in thousands of casualties among Chinese, American, Taiwanese and Japanese forces, and is unlikely to result in a victory for Beijing, according to a leading independent think tank in Washington, which has led a war game. simulations of a possible conflict that preoccupy military and political leaders in Asia and Washington.

A war against Taiwan could leave a victorious US army as crippled as the Chinese forces it defeated.

At the end of the conflict, at least two American aircraft carriers would be at the bottom of the Pacific and the modern Chinese navy, which is the largest in the world, would be in “a shambles”.

These are some of the conclusions the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has reached after running what it claims is one of the most comprehensive war game simulations ever conducted of a possible conflict in About Taiwan, the democratically-governed island of 24 million that the Chinese Communist Party claims as part of its sovereign territory despite never having controlled it.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has refused to rule out using military force to bring the island under Beijing’s control.

CNN reviewed an advance copy of the report — titled “The First Battle of the Next War” — on the two dozen war scenarios run by CSIS, which said the project was necessary because previous government war simulations and privacy were too narrow or too opaque to give the public and policymakers any real insight into how the conflict across the Taiwan Strait might unfold.

“There is no unclassified war game about the US-China conflict,” said Mark Cancian, one of three project managers and senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Of unrated games, they’re usually only played once or twice.”

CSIS launched this war game 24 times to answer two fundamental questions: would the invasion succeed and at what cost?

The likely answers to both questions are no and overwhelming, according to the CSIS report.

“The United States and Japan are losing dozens of ships, hundreds of aircraft, and thousands of military personnel. Such losses would harm the United States’ global position for many years to come,” the report said. scenarios, the U.S. Navy lost two aircraft carriers and 10 to 20 large surface combatants An estimated 3,200 U.S. troops would be killed in three weeks of combat, nearly half of what the U.S. lost in two decades of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“China is also suffering a lot. Its navy is in ruins, the core of its amphibious forces are broken and tens of thousands of soldiers are prisoners of war,” he said. The report estimated that China would suffer around 10,000 soldiers killed and lose 155 combat aircraft and 138 major ships.

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The scenarios paint a bleak future for Taiwan, even if a Chinese invasion is unsuccessful.

“While Taiwan’s military is intact, it is severely degraded and left to defend a damaged economy on an island without electricity or basic services,” the report said. The island’s army would suffer around 3,500 casualties and all 26 destroyers and frigates of its navy would be sunk, according to the report.

Japan is likely to lose more than 100 fighter jets and 26 warships as US military bases on its homeland are attacked by China, according to the report.

But CSIS said it did not want its report to imply that war against Taiwan “is inevitable or even likely”.

“Chinese leaders could adopt a strategy of diplomatic isolation, gray area pressure or economic coercion against Taiwan,” he said.

Dan Grazier, senior defense policy researcher at the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), views an outright Chinese invasion of Taiwan as extremely unlikely. Such a military operation would immediately disrupt the imports and exports on which the Chinese economy depends for its very survival, Grazier told CNN, and interrupting this trade risks the collapse of the Chinese economy in the short term. China depends on food and fuel imports to fuel its economic engine, Grazier said, and it has little room to manoeuvre.

“The Chinese are going to do everything they can in my opinion to avoid military conflict with anyone,” Grazier said. To challenge the United States for world dominance, it will use industrial and economic might instead of military force.

But Pentagon leaders have called China a “boosting threat” to America, and last year’s congressional-mandated Chinese military power report said “the PLA has stepped up provocative actions and destabilizing forces in and around the Taiwan Strait, to include increased flights to Taiwan’s claimed air defense identification zone and the conduct of exercises focused on the potential seizure of one of Taiwan’s outer islands.

In August, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island sparked a massive display of PLA military might, which included sending missiles over the island as well as into the waters of the exclusive economic zone of Japan.

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Since then, Beijing has stepped up its aggressive military pressure tactics on the island, sending fighter jets across the center line of the Taiwan Strait, the body of water separating Taiwan and China and into the identification zone of Island air defense – a buffer of airspace commonly referred to as ADIZ.

And speaking of Taiwan at the 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress in October, Chinese leader Xi Jinping was applauded when he said China would “strive for peaceful reunification” – but then gave a stark warning, saying “We will never promise to renounce the use of force and we reserve the right to take all necessary measures.

The Biden administration has been steadfast in its support for the island, as mandated by the Taiwan Relations Act, which states that Washington will provide the island with the means to defend itself without committing US troops to that defense.

Newly signed National Defense Authorization Act commits the United States to a Taiwanese military modernization program and provides $10 billion in security assistance over five years, a strong sign of bipartisan support long term for the island.

Biden, however, said more than once that US military personnel would defend Taiwan if the Chinese military launched an invasion, even as the Pentagon insisted there was no change in policy.” A China” of Washington.

Under the “One China” policy, the United States recognizes China’s position that Taiwan is part of China, but has never officially recognized Beijing’s claim to the self-governing island.

“Wars happen even when objective analysis may indicate that the attacker might not be successful,” Cancian said.

The CSIS report states that for US troops to prevent China from finally taking control of Taiwan, four constants emerged among the 24 iterations of war games it aired:

The Taiwanese ground forces must be able to contain the Chinese bridgeheads; the United States must be able to use its bases in Japan for combat operations; the United States must have long-range anti-ship missiles to hit the PLA Navy from afar and “en masse”; and the United States must fully arm Taiwan before the firing begins and immediately engage in any conflict with its own forces.

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“There is no ‘Ukrainian model’ for Taiwan,” the report says, referring to how American and Western aid slowly poured into Ukraine long after the Russian invasion of its territory began. neighbor and that no American or NATO troops are actively fighting against Russia.

“Once the war starts, it’s impossible to send troops or supplies to Taiwan, so it’s a very different situation from Ukraine where the United States and its allies were able to send supplies continuously to Taiwan. ‘Ukraine,” Cancian said. “No matter what the Taiwanese go to war with, they have to have it when the war starts.”

Washington will have to start acting soon if it is to meet some of CSIS’s recommendations for success in a conflict in Taiwan, the think tank said.

These include fortifying US bases in Japan and Guam against Chinese missile attacks; move its naval forces to smaller, more resilient ships; give priority to submarines; prioritize durable bomber forces over fighter forces; but produce cheaper fighters; and pushing Taiwan toward a similar strategy, arming itself with simpler weapon platforms rather than expensive ships that are unlikely to survive a Chinese first strike.

These policies would make victory less costly for the US military, but the toll would still be high, according to the CSIS report.

“The United States could achieve a Pyrrhic victory, suffering more in the long run than the ‘defeated’ Chinese.”

“Victory isn’t everything,” the report says.

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