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Beyond Mission Impossible | China’s Taiwan Invasion Bluff
Albert Goldson Albert Goldson
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: New York, NY
Wednesday, January 5, 2022


The following analysis isstrictly a logistical perspective of why China is unable to invade Taiwan militarilypresent-day or in the far future.

The Hysterical Hype

During the past severalmonths the media has gleefully bombarded the public with the ever-increasing possibilitythat China will have the capability to invade Taiwan in the near present, ifnot the near future.

Undoubtedly there hasbeen a dramatic increase and intensity of Chinese air force incursions intoTaiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in 2021 as articulated in thefollowing chart entitled Taiwan’s Airspace SeesIncrease in Chinese Military Incursions provided by the R.O.C. Ministry of NationalDefense (Taiwan).

China’s militaryflights into Taiwan’s ADIZ are intimidation tactics meant to make Taiwan “feel”China’s shadow in its long-term objective of “reunification” while at the sametime garnering generous western media attention.

Increased Chinese aerialincursions into Taiwan’s ADIZ captivates the media’s attention who in turn compoundthe threat to sell the news. Besides, aerial intimidation particularly with itstrophy hypersonic missile, is far “sexier” headline grabbing news thanartificial island building or maritime incursions into the fishing areas ofneighboring countries.

It’s also a publicrelations coup for China because the hysterics and over-estimation of China asa rapidly emerging omnipotent military power within sight of world domination contradictsthe reality that they are a still a paper tiger in projecting their militarymight offshore.

Furthermore, inaddition to the aircraft carrier killing exotic weapons, articles have appearedwith respect to China’s mock-up of US carriers in western China serving astargets for bombing runs. Rarely mentioned is that fact that China has beenconducting these exercises for decades since becoming an economic juggernaut.

Every country has amock-up of their enemies’ critical targets for simulation training purposes incase of a conflict. For China, if there was to be a offshore military clash,the most obvious targets would be American aircraft carriers and nearbymilitary bases.

Narrow Window ofOpportunity

The principal drivingfactors for these media hysterics are:

·       The present-daydistractions of the rampant Omicron variant

·       Buildup of and Russiantroops poised on the Ukrainian border

·       Large Russian-Chinesejoint military exercises

All of the above createthe illusion that an opportunistic, autocratically led Russia and China, areloosely collaborating to invade, within the same timeframe, their respective sovereignneighbors because the US is too divided, distracted, stretched to the limit ofresources and political will to repel a two-front military aggression.

In reality with respectto Russia, the probability of an invasion of the Ukraine is high while aChinese invasion of Taiwan is remote.

Taiwan’s Perspective& Reality

Leveraging China’sescalating aggressive and perceived military bellicose intentions, the media presentsa vulnerable, if not helpless Taiwan, who the US will be compelled to “rescue”.One such article on Taiwan’s lack of and readiness was published by the WallStreet Journal 26 October 2021 is entitled Does Taiwan’s MilitaryStand a Chance Against China? Few Think So.

Through selectivesurveys and interviews the article focused on the under-funded, low morale andlower military service requirement (4 months present-day from 2 years) of the187,660 active soldiers (down from 275,000 in 2011) and 2.2 million Taiwanesereservists

Reality | Not YourFather’s “Saving Private Ryan”

All of theaforementioned has been grossly exaggerated and misinterpreted as a prelude toan imminent Chinese invasion.

For starters therehaven’t been any reports, let alone rumors, of Chinese military mobilization whetherit be land forces, vessels, equipment & materiel unlike the Russianmilitary-buildup which has been confirmed and supported by satellite images.There has merely been bombastic political rhetoric from the Chinese leadership concerningTaiwan.

If there was to be aninvasion, the build-up would take place at the major Chinese naval ports specificallyQingdao, Ningbo and Zhangjiang all of which are located much further than thelaunch sites during D-Day.

Logistically theshortest geographical distance between China and Taiwan is 100 miles with theaforementioned naval launch bases another 100-plus miles away.

The shortest distanceduring the D-Day invasion in June 1944 was 26 miles. However Allied landingcraft and supporting vessels had to depart from naval bases up to 100 milesaway.

Furthermore the Allieshad the luxury of landing 156,000 troops at multiple wide and flat beaches withair & sea domination and was able to concentrate their efforts exclusivelyon Nazi Germany’s beach and inland defenses. After several years of planningand wartime experience the Allies were able to successfully undertake theinteroperability of various armed services (army, navy and air force) with anendless flow of supporting materiel post-landing.

On the other hand even afterbeing exposed crossing an open sea, Taiwan has an unforgiving topography withfew suitable landing sites with China grossly lacking the support vessels andaircraft to supply and sustain their troops in hostile territory.

It’s been decades sinceChina has undertaken large scale military operations all of which those wereland-based with no history of an amphibious assault. Any attempt of such anoperation against Taiwan would be even far more complicated and challenging thanthe D-Day version with stealth and surprise practically impossible.

Despite China’shigh-profile, high-tech trophy weapons, even in the 21st centurymilitary conflicts are ultimately decided by the soldier with the bayonet. Thisis what happened with the American invasion and occupation in Gulf War II andAfghanistan where ultimately it was the American foot soldiers’ arrival thatsecured key parts of the country before it was deemed secure.

Beyond MissionImpossible

Let’s debunk the gross numberswith the following chart entitled The Military ImbalanceIn The Taiwan Straitprovided by the U.S. Department of Defense.


This chart represents anestimated totality of China’s military in a geographically huge country, notall of which can be used in an amphibious invasion or even moved to invasion launchsites in China itself. China would still require large numbers of personnel andmaterial against Indian aggression in the west as well as to support lawenforcement in case of overwhelming domestic social unrest.

Finally of the abovetotals for each category, military and media expert sources rarely provide an estimatethe amount of “combat ready” Chinese military hardware versus those which aredesignated to be cannibalized for spare parts.

Taiwan is a smallisland with limited favorable landing sites whose defenses, well-hidden intheir mountainous topography, are concentrated exclusively for a Chineseinvasion.

This and similarcomparative charts from credible sources are accurate but whose information is nottranslated to their suitability to real-life operational use for an amphibiousoperation on the scale required.

In sum, the Chineseleadership is well aware of the fact that their last military conflict occurredin 1979 against the Vietnamese, a land battle just across the border, which waslogistically far more simplistic, versus the enormously difficultinteroperability to various armed forces in an amphibious assault, inlandmovement and subsequent capture of military bases, cities and utilities.

21st CenturyInvasion Tactic

For China there are amyriad of non-military ways to achieve the goal of reunification that wouldalmost eliminate casualties, collateral damage and political blowback,specifically loss of face for President Xi.

Politically this mayinvolve creating and stoking a socio-political environment within Taiwanthrough the Kuomintang (KMT), Taiwan’s largest opposition political party whostill maintains the idea is that Taiwan and the mainland are one China. Withouta doubt this tactic has probably been a long-term, on-going operation for decades.

According to theElection Study Center at National Chengchi University, voters identifying withthe KMT is 19% vs 31% for the ruling Democratic Progressive party. The KMT figureis low but even within many democracies, circumstances have reversed publicsentiment in strange ways.


The Chinese leadershipis leveraging the media hysteria that is creating the illusion of a militarilypowerful and operationally competent giant.

The purpose of thisalarmist hysteria is pure sensationalism one in which, in my opinion,particular political and military leaders worldwide are using to push their ownagendas whether for additional funding or misdirection and distraction frommore urgent matters.

© Copyright 2022 Cerulean Council LLC

The Cerulean Council is a NYC-based think-tank that providesprescient, beyond-the-horizon, contrarian perspectives and risk assessments ongeopolitical dynamics and global urban security.


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