- One think tank polled 52 American experts on whether they believe China is capable of successfully invading Taiwan.
- Only 27% said they believe Beijing is capable of carrying out a successful amphibious attack.
- Perhaps it was their belief that the United States would intervene in the invasion that led to their answers.
A new survey of leading experts from the United States and Taiwan casts doubt on China's ability to invade Taiwan with its current military strength.
The poll was published on Monday by Center for Strategic and International Studiescollected the opinions of 52 American experts in November and December of last year.
The center said that among them are people with extensive experience in the US government, academics, and experts in think tanks who have previously testified in Congress.
Only 27% said they strongly or somewhat agreed that the PLA had the capability to carry out an amphibious invasion, according to the report.
Perhaps the deciding factor for many of these experts was the belief that the US military would intervene directly in the event of such an attack.
“96% of US experts were very or moderately confident that if China invades Taiwan in the next five years, the US military will intervene to defend Taiwan,” the report said.
CSIS also polled 35 experts from Taiwan, only 17% of whom said they agreed that China had the capability to successfully carry out an amphibious invasion.
The survey came after multiple reports that China is purging the People's Liberation Army of corrupt officials, with cases of graft so severe that Beijing's considerations of any major military action in the next few years may be affected.
Experts said that quarantine or blockade is most likely
When asked whether they thought China could effectively pressure Taiwan through quarantine or blockade, majorities on both sides shifted in favor of Beijing.
91% of American experts said they strongly or somewhat agreed that China could impose a quarantine on Taiwan, restricting the flow of goods to and from the island through non-military means. Conversely, only 63% of Taiwanese experts said they agreed that China was capable of doing so.
One example of this is the pressure on traffic to Taiwanese ports through the customs inspection system, the center said.
China could also impose a military blockade on Taiwan, which 81% of American experts said they agreed Beijing could do, while 60% of experts from Taiwan agreed.
Both the quarantine and blockade could escalate into an invasion, with China encircling Taiwan before launching an attack, the report said.
Now US experts have said Washington would intervene if China took any course of restrictive measures, with 63% saying they were completely or somewhat confident that the US would intervene during a quarantine, and 79% saying they were confident Washington would intervene in the event of a fundamental crisis. . siege.
Experts in Taiwan did not share this confidence. Only 40% of them said they were confident that the United States would intervene during the quarantine, and 60% said they were confident that it would intervene during the basic blockade.
The pessimistic outlook for 2024
The majority of experts were pessimistic about the coming year in terms of cross-Strait relations, with 58% of experts in Taiwan saying a crisis between the two governments – such as large-scale military exercises and escalating threats from China – is likely or very likely. In 2024.
American attitudes were more negative. 68% of American experts said that a crisis is likely to occur.
Taiwan's election of William Lai Ching-te, its outgoing vice president, as the island's new leader earlier this month has raised fears that China is doubling down on its aggression toward Taipei.
Lai is a key member of the Democratic Progressive Party, which is largely focused on resisting Beijing. Taiwan's outgoing president, Tsai Ing-wen, has been increasingly tough on China, with Beijing, under Xi Jinping, simultaneously issuing threats to invade the island.
Lai's rise as Taiwan's leader is widely seen as a potential source of further conflict, despite his pledge to maintain the status quo. In a sign of rising tensions to come, Beijing issued individual reprimands to countries around the world for congratulating Lai on his election victory.