KEY POINTS

  • The first wave of PLA troops will be deployed in Taiwan’s southeast coast
  • A fleet of Navy ships will be dispatched as a strategic blockade on Western Pacific
  • However, a full invasion will be difficult due to issues in landing and supplying troops

As war threat looms, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Taiwan has warned that Beijing may use military drills as a pretense to launch an attack on the self-ruled democracy.

The People's Liberation Army (PLA) will launch various missiles and destroy Taiwan’s air defense sites, radar stations, and command posts, said a report by Taiwan News.

These observations were made by MND in the legislative report titled "Strengthening the military’s combat effectiveness in response to an all-out Chinese invasion of Taiwan in 2025." 

According to the report, China will also suppress or destroy Taiwan’s main battle forces and key military installations with electromagnetic pulse attacks. While Beijing will send PLA troops to Taiwan’s southeast coast, a fleet of Navy ships will be deployed as a strategic blockade on Western Pacific. These ships will prevent foreign forces from aiding Taiwan, the report added.

Deputy Minister of National Defense Wang Hsin-lung said the MND studied the possibilities of China using military drills as a facade to carry out the invasion and "has a handle on related matters," Taiwan News quoted local media CNA.

China will also make the first move, rather than wait for Taiwan to slip up, in case of an invasion. The first wave of PLA troops will push forward deeper into Taiwan before beginning the next stage of operations, said Wang. However, the Taiwanese military has considered such scenarios and has revamped training accordingly, the report added.

That said, a full invasion would be very difficult due to problems China would have in landing and supplying troops, reported Reuters quoting the report. 

It added that China's mainland's transport capacity was limited and it would not be able to land all its forces in one go. Beijing would have to rely on "non-standard" roll-on, roll-off ships that would require port facilities and transport aircraft that would need airports. 

"However, Taiwan’s military strongly defends ports and airports, and they will not be easy to occupy in a short time. Landing operations will face extremely high risks," the MND report said. 

China would also need to keep some of its forces in reserve to prevent any foreign forces from joining in to help Taiwan and keep a close watch on other fractious areas of China’s border, like with India and in the South China Sea, the ministry said.

"US and Japanese military bases are close to Taiwan, and any Chinese Communist attack would necessarily be closely monitored, plus it would need to reserve forces to prevent foreign military intervention," the report added.

Taiwanese reservists attend a military drill Taiwanese reservists attend a military drill Photo: AFP / Mandy CHENG