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Visualizing The Military Imbalance In The Taiwan Strait

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Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar visited Taiwan for high level meetings last week in a move that angered Beijing. As Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, Azar’s unprecedented trip prompted China to send J-10 and J-11 fighter jets into the Taiwan Strait where they briefly crossed the sensitive median line which unofficially separates airspace between the mainland and the island.

China considers Taiwan a rogue province and maintains that reunification is inevitable, reserving its right to use all necessary measures, including military force.

In recent years, political and military tensions between Beijing and Washington have escalated amid the Trump administration’s ongoing trade war with China as well as its decision to supply Taipei with advanced variants of the F-16 fighter jet, along with other items of modern military hardware. China’s controversial territorial claims in the South China Sea have also contributed to growing feelings of unease across the region and prompted Japan to cast aside its postwar pacifism.

Even though the possibility of China taking Taiwan by force is low, the military balance in the Taiwan Strait is firmly in China’s favor. The infographic provides an overview of that imbalance and is based on an annual U.S. government report.

Visualizing The Military Imbalance In The Taiwan Strait

You will find more infographics at Statista

China has never ruled out the possibility of invading Taiwan and it has continued acquiring the military capability to do so. In recent years, it has modernized its military, introducing the J-20, an indigenous 5th generation stealth fighter. It has also commissioned two aircraft carriers (although one is used for training and omitted from the infographic above) along with several modern amphibious transport dock/landing vessels.

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Nasty Animal


Антон С

Comparison by numbers is far from real state of things. Even having big values, you can’t use all your weapons at small theater. Plus geography. Chinese planes should fly across wide strait. 5800 can’t move in water, so they are depending on amphibious ships, same heavy weapons of marines. And so on. Anyway the potential of mainland is much bigger and the island can’t fight long against giant.

Traiano Welcome

If i was China, all I’d do is make it rain missiles on Taiwan until they cry “Uncle”.

I wouldn’t move any hardware around until they were ready to sign a surrender.

Of course, China would rather take Taiwan intact so it can take over TSMC and Mediatek.

Антон С

That’s why I wrote Taiwan has no chances to win a war. Political solution is more probable. Especially after coming US navy out of region.

Traiano Welcome

That is what would happen if things were left to go their natural course.

However, I have a feeling the US would provoke a response from China if it feels Taiwan is about to reach a political settlement with the mainland.

It would probably look something like the Cuban missile crisis all over again …


Yeah China would struggle with the amphibious landings on mass against the sizable Taiwanese army. It’s a much harder nut to crack than the numbers suggest.

Traiano Welcome

The PLA would never waste the effort of a mass amphibious landing. That is fighting with last century’s tactics in a century where China lands robots on the moon. It just does not make sense.

J Villain

Taiwan will be completely inconsequential in a fight over Taiwan. If there was to be a fight it would be between China and what ever useful idiots like Australia the US can sucker into fighting and dying for them.

Alberto Garza

how can you defend communist tyrany of china ?

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