Chinese Dragon Awakens

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If they are interested in taking Taiwan, they would need only to be able to project power as far as Taiwan. They can then make use of their enormous military resources to defend their occupation of Taiwan.

I think they can rely on their long range ballistic missle threat to keep the U.S. at bay. Would the U.S. really trade the destruction of California to keep Taiwan independent? When push comes to shove, America would never support such a trade off.

The political reality is that for all our posturing and threats, the U.S. ultimately wouldn't lift a finger to help Taiwan.
Japan would obviously be involved against China. Blood still boils after centuries. No matter how modern and civilised the human race claims to be, old rivalries will never die.
Let's remember that in 2,000, the Chinese threatened nuclear war if the U.S. physically intervened on Taiwans behalf. As I recall, they threatened to "incinerate Los Angeles." The thinly veiled meaning of this threat was particularly cogent and clear.

I found something else of interest as well concerning possible scenarios that the Pentagon has developed.

From the Pentagon study entitled "The Asia 2025 Study."

And the following scenario for future Taiwan crises is seen as possible, even likely: China decides to try to force Taiwan to accept reunification on Beijing's terms. Its first military step is a naval blockade of Taiwan. The United States sends ships to challenge the blockade. In response, the Chinese threaten missile attacks or hit American vessels, persuading Washington that it has to choose between going to war and pulling back. Hesitation in Washington or a decision to retreat prompts the collapse of the Taiwanese stock market, currency and economy. The Taiwanese establishment quickly accepts whatever deal Beijing is offering - and that isn't all. US failure to support its ally persuades other Asian powers that they, too, must accommodate the rising China. Japan makes a deal with Beijing for security and autonomy, in return agreeing to close all US bases. A reunified Korea, swept up by nationalist sentiment, also expels the Americans. China effectively dominates the entire region. An Asia it dominates but does not conquer or occupy is China's goal.
I persoanlly think that China is more dangerous that we think. The thing is I disagree that the US will not intervene if Taiwan is invaded. We have made it policy to defend them. Now I know this policy goes back to the Cold War we will stand against Communism policy, but the US will have to act in some way because of the long standing policy.

I do however believe that if this happened it would be a more unified effort by pretty much NATO and UN backing.

The Chinese military is extremely large but much of there weapons and tactics are outdated and obsolete compared to NATO standards however imagine a conventional conflict in China. China is modernizing its military at a very fast rate though. Just the ammount of forces they have would make it a very hard fought battle and very costly. Is a conflict like this though capable of not becoming Nuclear? I do not think so.

These figures are from 1999.

Chinese armed forces: People's Liberation Army (PLA), founded in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province on August 1st, 1927.

Air Force (470,000 airmen; 2,556 jet fighters; 400 ground attack jets.)

Ground Force (Army) (1.9 million men; 14,000 tanks; 14,500 artillery pieces 453 helicopters)

Navy (250,000 sailors; 63 submarines; 18 destroyers; 35 frigates)

Second Artillery Force (Stragetic Missile Force): No info available.
I doubt they would be much bigger, those numbers are from 1999. The manpower argument for China is the manpower it can draw from, not the actual manpower of it's army at the time. Germany had 10.8 military personel for Operation Barbarossa (They didn't use them all), the Red Army had 5.4 million but the Soviet Union could draw more men into service. That's what China has the ability to do...
I dont think there Army is bigger now however there military is modernizing at a very fast pase.

This just from the 1990 Defense Almanac:

Para Military Forces: 20 million People's Armed Police (Militia)
Available Manpower: 325,072,000; 181,850,000 fit for military service (est.)

Chinas weapons are greatly getting more modern and advanced.

Other than a possible nuke strike on another country they do not have the capability to do long range overwater invasions such as Australia however they do have the ability to fight a long drawn out war on there own turf.

I do agree with you Plan_D that this could be the next Cold War....

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