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Cadet Smirk
16 July 2004 @ 11:25 am
Big Trouble in Little China
As I mentioned on 17 May (Communist Aggression), the situation in the Taiwan Strait between the mainland Communist regime of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the democratic Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan has grown increasingly critical. Now The Straits Times of Singapore is reporting in an article by Ching Cheong that seven U.S. Navy Nimitz class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers are moving within striking distance of Communist China in a huge show of force as part of Exercise "Summer Pulse '04."

Likewise, the U.S. has made it clear that arms sales to the ROC/Taiwan will continue, despite protest from Beijing. The Communist regime warned on Tuesday that it was "gravely concerned" about recent U.S. moves on the Taiwan issue, pointing out that the situation was "quite critical," particularly where arms sales were concerned (US to continue arms sales to Taiwan - The Straits Times).

And today Beijing refused to rule out the possibility of attacking Taiwan within the next 20 years (China attack within 20 years 'possible' - The Straits Times).
'If Taiwan's leadership is so bold as to initiate major incidents to achieve Taiwan's independence, our military has the capability and the means to defeat it, to thoroughly resolve the Taiwan issue,' the report said. It noted that Beijing considered [Republic of China President] Mr Chen's plan to hold a referendum on a new Constitution in 2006 and to put it into practice in 2008 as constituting 'major incidents'.

[...]

'China has no desire to be engaged in direct conflict with America, but if foreign powers were to interfere and support Taiwan independence, we can only resort to a military solution.'

China has moved its strategic military base to the south-eastern coastal region and the People's Liberation Army's various branches have made preparations for war, the report said.
The last time tensions were so high was during the Third Taiwan Strait Crisis in 1996, when the U.S. deployed two aircraft carriers and their strike groups to the region. During that incident, one Communist general famously remarked that the U.S. cares more about Los Angeles than Taipei (the ROC capital), a veiled threat at a nuclear strike on the West Coast.

Seven carriers and their associated strike groups total approximately 63 ships, including everything from the carriers themselves to guided missile cruisers and destroyers to attack submarines. Each carrier can launch around 85 aircraft, bringing the combined airpower projection package to approximately 600 aircraft. These forces are in addition to formidable U.S. and allied assets in South Korea and Japan, as well as aircraft capable of direct attack by air refueling from bases in the continental United States.

Some see this "big stick diplomacy" as hitting two birds with one stone. The exercise directly threatens Communist China, but indirectly may also be aimed at North Korea. In addition to these fleet movements, U.S. troops have been moving back from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) while the Department of Defense has deployed F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighters to Kusan Air Base, South Korea, moved B-52 Stratofortress and B-1B Lancer nuclear-capable long range bombers to Guam (within striking distance of both China and North Korea), brought the anti-ballistic missile defense shield to emergency readiness, and activated Patriot air defense missile batteries across South Korea.

Regardless of the true target, if I were sitting in Pyongyang or Beijing, I'd be shaking in my commie boots.

More to come.

UPDATE: China is reported to have begun military exercises simulating an invasion of Taiwan, according to the BBC. A provocative move indeed.

UPDATE 2: TV talking heads are also speculating that this exercise may develop into a naval blockade of Iran, Syria, and North Korea.

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