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Think Tank: Simulation Predicts Taiwan Could Defeat China With US-Japan Aid in Invasion Scenario

© Wikimedia CommonsTaiwanese Tuo Chiang-class corvette on maneuvers
Taiwanese Tuo Chiang-class corvette on maneuvers - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.01.2023
The United States is officially committed to a “one-China” policy, which concedes that Taiwan is part of China. However, the United States has kept informal relations with Taipei and provides arms to its government.
A simulation run by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank has determined that Taiwan would come out as a victor if faced with a Chinese invasion in 2026, assuming it has the military support of both Japan and the United States.
However, that victory would come at a high cost in the estimated three or four weeks of fighting that would occur.
The results of the war simulation, which were released on Monday, were undertaken with both historical and operational research. The model was run 24 times.
Dozens of ships, hundreds of aircraft, and tens of thousands of troops would be lost for all sides of the potential war. There were also scenarios in the simulation, though rare, where China came out on top. According to the CSIS, Taiwan must hold the line and the US must have access to bases in Japan in order for Taiwan to prevail.
The group also ran a scenario in which Taiwan does not receive direct military support from Japan and the United States. In those scenarios, China comes out on top. Unlike the situation in Ukraine, the United States would not be able to pump weapons into Taiwan and China would easily isolate the island.
Japan has been non-committal about defending Taiwan in a potential war with mainland China. However, last year it decided to increase its military capabilities, moving from a “defense only” force to something more substantial.
The model also notes a war would be disastrous to all nations involved, and that is without considering the possibility that nuclear weapons are used. China has the third-largest nuclear stockpile in the world while the United States ranks second. Any prolonged use of nuclear conflict between the two powers would devastate the world and make possession of Taiwan an afterthought at best.
The model did not look at the possibility of China blockading the island instead of invading it.
While the CSIS model predicts Taiwan will win in most scenarios with the United States’ backing, it admits China may view the military situation in a different light.

“Although our analysis indicates that the United States and Taiwan would prevail and inflict heavy casualties, it’s possible to imagine the Chinese are looking at it differently,” CSIS International Security Program senior adviser Mark Cancian told The Hill. “That’s why we recommend enhancing deterrence so we don’t get into this situation in the first place.”

While Cancian takes a strong stance on funding Taiwan, he insists the study is not taking a stance on if the United States should defend Taiwan with direct military action. Instead, he says, its purpose is to highlight how costly such a war could be.
It should also be noted the CSIS is a notoriously pro-war think tank, and has been funded by weapon manufacturers and defense contractors. Its donor list, along with several foreign governments, includes Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, and General Atomics, all of whom stand to profit from increased military aid to Taiwan.
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