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War in Taiwan (General)

by dulan drift, Wednesday, August 05, 2020, 09:24 (123 days ago)

If there was to be a war between the US and China, then it's short odds that Taiwan would be the flash-point. I'm hopeful it won't happen, but it currently seems more likely than at any other time i can remember.

We've got fighter jets from both sides skirting the island, warships cruising around, full-scale military exercises, and escalating rhetoric - it's a powder keg.

It just takes one fatal encounter, accidental or deliberate, for the situation to lurch dangerously towards war.

There have been numerous incidents in the last few months - we can use this thread to document them as they happen.

The latest one involves a planned military operation by the PLA to stage a "simulated invasion of the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea this month."

Taiwan has sent reinforcements to the island.

War in Taiwan

by dan @, Wednesday, August 05, 2020, 11:13 (123 days ago) @ dulan drift

Agreed. I've been doing a lot of thinking about this over the years, and as far as I can tell, if it does happen, it will be the result of at least two or three essential elements coming together. In other words, I don't think it will happen, at least in the next 2-5 years, purely as a result of China wanting to take back Taiwan.

If it does happen within the next 2-5 years, which I think is quite possible, it will be the result of other additional influences pushing either China or the US to start something. The main possible trigger would be internal strife in China. If China starts melting down economically or politically, watch out. That's when I'll really worry because then they would have a real incentive to make a move on Taiwan -- to distract internal attention from the government and to build nationalism for the purpose of countering internal problems.

There's also a possibility that there could be an initial, limited exchange on one of these outlying islands. The Pratas Islands, Kinmen, Matsu, any of these could serve as the location of a 'trial' war, a testing of the waters of sorts.

Or, as you point out, the trigger could be an accident, and the powder that it ignites, and hence causes war, would be the range of other motivations, i.e., stagnating economy, internal political tension, and a fear of losing momentum in their conquest of the South and East China seas.

One thing is for sure, the world economy is in a tailspin and it's not recovering, nor will it for another year or two.

Another possibility is that the US sells Taiwan out, something the US has shown it's very willing to do around the world. If the price is right, the US will turn a blind eye and let China put up a naval blockade, and from there it's a done deal.

The long China game that doesn't call for war but would, I think, work for them would be to just buy off each generation as it graduates from college, a carrot and stick approach. Strangle the economy, and throw graduates a lifeline with jobs in China. They've been doing that already for years and it was working to a degree, but then they shot themselves in the foot by screwing over HK. That served Taiwan's interest.

So who knows how it will play out. I'm not optimistic about the situation.

War in Taiwan

by dulan drift, Thursday, August 06, 2020, 08:26 (122 days ago) @ dan

That's an interesting analysis.

"Another possibility is that the US sells Taiwan out, something the US has shown it's very willing to do around the world. If the price is right, the US will turn a blind eye and let China put up a naval blockade, and from there it's a done deal."

This is a crucial point. On one hand you've got a guy who's ramping up the anti-Chinese rhetoric but nobody knows if it's just a bargaining tactic in which Taiwan would be sold down the river for a trade deal. On the other hand you've got Biden who seems like a China appeaser.

Taiwan highlights the fact that 'progressive' politics is crying out for someone who's not afraid to tell the truth - not some neo-liberal message-managed version of it - that translates as support for a totalitarian regime over a democratic one.

War in Taiwan - Internal pressures

by dulan drift, Sunday, August 09, 2020, 09:04 (119 days ago) @ dulan drift

On the point Dan mentions about internal pressures in the CCP being a potential trigger, there's this from Kevin Rudd, an ex-Australian PM and noted China watcher.


"In China, an already slowing economy, the ongoing impact of the trade war, and now the COVID-19 crisis have placed Xi’s leadership under its greatest internal pressure yet. Many in the CCP resent his brutal anticorruption campaign, which has been used in part to eliminate political enemies. His massive military reorganization has encountered resistance from the hundreds of thousands of veterans who lost out. The degree of opposition he faces is reflected in the large number of major personnel changes he has engineered in the party’s intelligence, security, and military hierarchies. And that was before the “party rectification campaign” that he launched in July to sideline opponents and further consolidate his power."

While in America he refers to their disastrous Covid response resulting in:

"150,000 Americans dead; an economic crisis marked by 14.7 percent unemployment, a 43.0 percent rise in bankruptcies, and eye-watering public debt; not to mention the future of American global leadership."

So it looks like your criteria is on the way to being met.

War in Taiwan - Cyber element

by dulan drift, Sunday, August 09, 2020, 16:57 (119 days ago) @ dulan drift

As a data war/Taiwan merger - cyber warfare would be a key weapon in any battle.

If you could turn off the electricity in an enemy state without them turning off yours - that's game over without firing a shot. Forget about all your traditional bombs.

Probably same result if you disabled the internet. (Is that even possible?)

It's likely we'll be sitting around typing on Formosahut when suddenly the power goes out...

That's strange - i'll call the electricity company - oh - the phones are out too! - guess civilization as we know it will all come back on line later...

I wonder what happens to your money in that situation?

War in Taiwan

by dan @, Sunday, August 09, 2020, 19:11 (119 days ago) @ dulan drift

No doubt cyber warfare to some extent the holy grail of modern weaponry. Theoretically, it could disable opponents' nuclear arsenal.

The internet is an interesting question though. As long as you have the electricity to make devices run, they can connect to each other. The domain name based Internet as we know it is made possible by a network of DNS servers, but those aren't absolutely necessary. Without a DNS network, we'd have no domain names, so no formosahut. But we'd still have IP addresses. DNS servers map domain names to an numerical IP address. IP addresses are what the whole system is really based on.

While in Taitung, one sort of fantasy project I had was to create an intranet of sorts. Any community of users does not need an ISP to connect to each other. All they need is either a hard-wire connection or wifi (over any sort of distance, that would require strong boosters), and at least one serving as a server. The internet protocol makes it possible for any computers to communicate, given they have the requisite software installed.

Another hobby that I've never realized is short wave radio.

And then there's Morse Code.

And smoke signals.

Pigeons.

War in Taiwan - Cyber

by dulan drift, Monday, August 10, 2020, 18:09 (118 days ago) @ dan

> The internet is an interesting question though. As long as you have the electricity to make devices run, they can connect to each other.

That's cool. You can also see how AI will dig that arrangement.

> While in Taitung, one sort of fantasy project I had was to create an intranet of sorts. Any community of users does not need an ISP to connect to each other. All they need is either a hard-wire connection or wifi (over any sort of distance, that would require strong boosters), and at least one serving as a server. The internet protocol makes it possible for any computers to communicate, given they have the requisite software installed.
>
Dan we might need that pronto to save the world!

War in Taiwan

by dan @, Monday, August 10, 2020, 19:06 (118 days ago) @ dulan drift

One of the main buzzwords in tech circles now is decentralization, meaning primarily decentralization of data. The internet was originally conceived as a completely decentralized network, but it has grown into a highly centralized network, with ISPs at the top and hosting providers somewhere in the middle. The big social networks and ISPs are sort of on equal but different footing; they provide completely different services.

But the point is, NONE of them are truly needed for people to still connect. When I learned decades ago that I could fire up my own server, for free, I was hooked.

Decentralization is taking new forms now. The biggest form is cryptocurrencies and smart contracts, aka Bitcoin and Ethereum respectively, but try to restrain any kneejerk reaction. Bitcoin grew out of the 2008 meltdown, that which was brought about by centralized control of wealth. Bitcoin is, if one bothers to actually learn about it, truly fascinating, and it scares the shit out of the banking sector. I can send you $100 in Bitcoin, or any other digital currency I hold, in seconds and essentially for free. I realized how powerful this technology is in 2016 when I was in Taiwan and wanted to buy something from Germany. I couldn't use a credit card. I didn't want to wire money. But they took Bitcoin. It was the easiest international transaction I'd ever done.

But it's gone way beyond just currency. Check out Ethereum, smart contracts, blockchain technology, and distributed ledgers. Decentralization is happening and the corporate sector, after first demonizing it all, is now taking notice.

https://ledgerinsights.com/coca-cola-bottlers-coke-blockchain-ethereum-baseline/

https://titanseal.com/

https://consensys.net/blockchain-use-cases/real-estate/

https://www.rgj.com/story/money/business/2018/12/31/blockchain-marriage-licenses-hit-ne...

Some are calling this Web 3.0, and it's in its very early days. I'd say it's at the stage that Web 1.0 was in in about 1996 or 97.

But what all this means is that data and the internet is moving back, in ways unforeseen, to its decentralized roots. It's very exciting!

War in Taiwan - Decentralization

by dulan drift, Tuesday, August 11, 2020, 06:43 (117 days ago) @ dan

One of the main buzzwords in tech circles now is decentralization, meaning primarily decentralization of data.

That could be the antidote to what's happening.

My 'out there' theory is that the world is exponentially rushing/being drawn towards a singularity. Data centralization is the main manifestation of that.

According to the theory, a day will come when AI takes over resulting in a oneness of thought - meaning no dichotomy, no observation. At that point the universe collapses in on itself, whereupon we have the big bang and start over again.

However, your decentralization movement could be the fly in the ointment that saves the world from this fate!

War in Taiwan

by dan @, Sunday, August 09, 2020, 18:56 (119 days ago) @ dulan drift

Right. So you have leaders on both sides standing to benefit by conflict. Trump is poised to lose the election. Nothing would help him more than a good old fashioned hot war. Xi is in much better standing, but he could benefit as well. It's a dangerous period to be sure.

War in Taiwan

by dan @, Sunday, August 09, 2020, 19:29 (119 days ago) @ dulan drift

Here's a very dark exploration into the potential for evil in the world, particularly among the very rich and powerful, those whose names we don't even know.

First, consider an agreed upon fake war to benefit both sides. This could be in the making now. It would be 'held' for the purposes of distracting each population from internal strife and for the concurrent building of nationalism and rallying behind each leader.

This may already be in the works.

But let's up the stakes. Civilizations are about to collapse due to global warming. Governments are under siege. The people are out of food and out for blood, and the simply very rich are starting to get executed and possibly eaten. The wannabe rich in the nice suburbs were grilled up weeks earlier.

A limited nuclear war would solve, or at least stall, global warming. Done correctly, at the correct level, it could actually reverse global warming. And, given that those in the know will be well out of harm's way, it would also serve to eradicate the annoying cannibals.

This sounds crazy, but it's not. We're now developing small scale nuclear weapons. When in history have we ever developed a weapon that wasn't used?

War in Taiwan

by dulan drift, Monday, August 10, 2020, 18:18 (118 days ago) @ dan

A limited nuclear war would solve, or at least stall, global warming. Done correctly, at the correct level, it could actually reverse global warming. And, given that those in the know will be well out of harm's way, it would also serve to eradicate the annoying cannibals.

Mate, we gotta start a movie company! (or possibly an off-grid community)

As you say, we're not that far off such a scenario. From where we are now things could happen very quickly. Within a few years even.

War in Taiwan

by dan @, Monday, August 10, 2020, 19:14 (118 days ago) @ dulan drift

Well, here's the scary thing. If the idea pops into my dumbass head, you know it's popped in to theirs. You know that the scenario is on some list somewhere. They've probably even run simulations.

Here's the defining question, the truly frightening question. Have they determined to within a tiny faction of a kiloton what amount of nuclear yield it would take to correct global warming? Has anybody done that?

Have they simulated that yield being detonated at various places rather than one place?

If the answer is yes, then it's a work in progress.

War in Taiwan

by dulan drift, Tuesday, August 11, 2020, 06:31 (117 days ago) @ dan

So how exactly would a calibrated nuclear payload reverse global warming?

Recognize Taiwan hypothetical

by dulan drift, Tuesday, August 11, 2020, 12:39 (117 days ago) @ dulan drift

If Mike Pompeo called Tsai Ing-wen and said, 'We're thinking of recognizing Taiwan - do you want us to do that, or will it just cause trouble?', then i wonder how she would answer.

War in Taiwan

by dan @, Tuesday, August 11, 2020, 15:39 (117 days ago) @ dulan drift

That's an excellent question! I wish somebody would put that to her at a news conference!
The reverse scenario is also interesting. What if Tsai called up Pompeo and said, "We're thinking of declaring independence. What do you think?"

War in Taiwan

by dan @, Tuesday, August 11, 2020, 15:50 (117 days ago) @ dulan drift

Well, the possibility is largely conjecture and extrapolation on my part. It's been established that one result of even a limited regional nuclear war would be a cooling climate, but a climate cooling way too much, in addition to other meteorological effects. See:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/how-a-nuclear-war-between-india-and-pakistan...

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/2/110223-nuclear-war-winter-global-warming...

OK, those aren't hard core scientific publications, but I assume they're based on sound science. If so, then wouldn't a much, much smaller exchange have the potential to cool the climate to a desired degree?

And here's another disturbing aspect of a planned war. The agreeing parties could essentially pick their own targets, meaning, literally, their own targets! I'm guessing Trump would pick Chicago as a recipient of a small nuclear device. Or Detroit. Xi would pick whatever city is being the biggest pain in the ass for one reason or another.

So in one swoop lasting less than 24 hours, they could eliminate local threats to their power and address global warming. This would allow them to continue using fossil fuels. It would save the Aramcos of the world who are currently shitting their pants and fearing obsolescence. Whoa! What do you mean I can't buy MBS Junior a Ferrari this year? It's a win win for all the old farts who are currently losing!

EDIT for links:

https://www.npr.org/2020/01/29/800938203/u-s-has-deployed-new-small-nukes-on-submarine-...

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/08/07/world/politics-diplomacy-world/russia-warn...

War in Taiwan

by dulan drift, Tuesday, August 11, 2020, 18:21 (117 days ago) @ dan

I didn't know that. I'd stopped thinking about nuclear war for 30 odd years.

According to one of those articles there'd be cooler temps - but less rain. Is there another kind of bomb that can increase rain?

The cool part is that the effect only lasts for about 10 years (given unrestrained carbon emissions) so you could take out another pesky state every decade.

At least they couldn't say they weren't warned.

US Health Secretary Azar visits Taiwan

by dulan drift, Wednesday, August 12, 2020, 18:05 (116 days ago) @ dulan drift

"International organizations are not the place to play politics, especially when the matter relates to healthcare, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said in Taipei yesterday, adding that the region and the world are safer because of Taiwan’s commitment to health promotion."

Hahaha! Not playing politics? Expect there will be more of the US making a show of treating Taiwan like a real country just to annoy China. Will it go all the way to recognition?

Interestingly, he (and his entourage?) appear to have been granted 'diplomatic immunity' so far as the 14 day quarantine for people coming from hotspots like the US. I wonder how they explained that?

Xi Jinping - food crisis?

by dulan drift, Thursday, August 13, 2020, 18:48 (115 days ago) @ dulan drift

This would meet Dan's criteria if it's true.

Was just thinking has Xi made any public comments about Covid whatsoever? Nothing that made the western press anyway. On one hand you've got the US President ranting on twitter every day and on the other there's Xi's cone of silence.

Then lo and behold today he commented about food wastage. China has been hit hard by flooding this year in the south which would have impacted agriculture, compounded by Covid's interruption on the supply chains. When you've got 1.4 billion mouths to feed it can become precarious quickly.

Ostensibly, it's sensible not to waste food at any time - so nothing wrong with the message - just wonder if there's more to it.

Military exercises - US spy plane

by dulan drift, Thursday, August 27, 2020, 06:02 (101 days ago) @ dulan drift

US spy plane spies on Chinese military exercise. "“This was a naked act of provocation,” the ministry said, quoting spokesman Colonel Wu Qian (吳謙)."

Apparently China has 3 large military exercises going concurrently.

There is a Chinese saying that says something like 'Be careful you don't fire off a shot while polishing the gun' - we're very much in that territory now.

Military exercises

by dan @, Thursday, August 27, 2020, 16:08 (101 days ago) @ dulan drift

Yeah I wouldn't be surprised if there's some minor hot skirmish before the US election, probably around some of the disputed islands. It would help both Trump and Xi. They're both chomping at the bit for it to build local support.

A minor skirmish is like a minor operation. It's an oxymoron.

Rising Star photo

by dulan drift, Saturday, August 29, 2020, 19:08 (99 days ago) @ dan

Recognize this guy?

[image]

Military exercises

by dan @, Saturday, August 29, 2020, 19:22 (99 days ago) @ dulan drift

He does look oddly familiar, or does he just have that kind of face. Who is he?

Military exercises

by dulan drift, Sunday, August 30, 2020, 21:37 (97 days ago) @ dan

Xi Jinping! Apparently the photo caused the brand of cigarettes, Lotus, to be become wildly popular.

Taiwan defense system - ppl on motorcycles with grenades

by dulan drift, Monday, August 31, 2020, 19:46 (97 days ago) @ dulan drift

This analysis by retied airforce deputy commander Chang Yen-ting (張延廷) does not fill one with confidence.

“The forces committed to the defense of airfields is spread too thin over a wide area. If China were to target the eight main strategic airfields with fast-strike units, such as people on motorcycles with grenades at times when defense is lax, it would be easy to wipe out Taiwan’s main combat jets."

He also thinks the incursions into Taiwan's airspace is the Chinese strategically fucking with Taiwan saying "emergency scrambling of Taiwanese fighters is starting to have an effect on equipment maintenance and pilot fatigue. We cannot be led about by the nose by the enemy.” Chang said.

The article also cites a former military instructor saying "should Taiwan lose air superiority, the nation’s defenses would not last 48 hours."

Taiwan defense system

by dan @, Tuesday, September 01, 2020, 04:56 (96 days ago) @ dulan drift

Very interesting. You're right. It doesn't sound good.

I've also read speculation that if the US presidential election is contested, which it almost certainly will be, resulting in a weeks or months long recount and lack of clarity on who is in charge, this would be a time for China to make some sort of move. Along with this, Japanese leadership is up for grabs.

These are interesting and very uncertain times, that's for sure.

Taiwan defense system

by dan @, Tuesday, September 01, 2020, 05:53 (96 days ago) @ dan

This article gives some clues as to what a limited offensive move by China might look like:

https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2020/09/01/2003742623

"If Beijing were to wage a war now, its combat plans could take the form of military intimidation, blockades, firepower strikes and landing operations, the report said.

It could cut off Taiwan’s supplies and demand surrender by blocking Taiwan’s major ports and maritime transportation, it said.

The PLA could also launch missiles that target Taiwan’s command systems, locations of great economic and political importance, or symbolic objects, as part of efforts to gradually disintegrate Taiwanese morale, it said.

Forceful occupation of Taiwan’s outlying islands by the PLA might take place during this stage, it added.

If the PLA had achieved air supremacy, command of the sea and electromagnetic spectrum dominance, and had wrecked most of Taiwan’s armed forces, its next move would likely be to send sea, air, land and rocket teams to conduct a series of attacks, such as decapitation strikes, raiding Penghu and ultimately invading Taiwan, it said."

Taiwan invasion scenarios

by dulan drift, Tuesday, September 01, 2020, 06:56 (96 days ago) @ dan

"The PLA could also launch missiles that target Taiwan’s command systems, locations of great economic and political importance, or symbolic objects, as part of efforts to gradually disintegrate Taiwanese morale, it said."

Hmm, 'the buzz' around a war seems growing week by week - i worry we're sailing into an inevitability vortex. Taiwanese friends are reporting an eerie 'calm before the storm' atmosphere with the stock market shooting up and Covid under control - and the Taiwanese know a thing or two about calms before storms.

As for the post US election window - that would be as good a time as any - somewhere the decision would have already been made.

Taiwan defense system

by dan @, Friday, September 11, 2020, 20:11 (86 days ago) @ dulan drift

It appears the plot will thicken in the coming week.

War games 90 miles offshore

by dulan drift, Friday, September 11, 2020, 21:08 (86 days ago) @ dan

"(The Defense ministry) said it had detectedmultiple waves of PLA Air Force (PLAAF) aircraft crossing into Taiwan’s southwestern air defense identification zone yesterday morning, the second consecutive day that PLAAF aircraft entered the zone."

This is a whole new level - before it was the odd plane once a week - now it's "multiple waves of aircraft". A fatal incident would seem just a matter of time. Three weeks you think? Might be about right.

War games 90 miles offshore

by dan @, Friday, September 18, 2020, 04:43 (79 days ago) @ dulan drift

This is interesting. I didn't know US Green Berets still trained in Taiwan:

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/34474/army-releases-ultra-rare-video-showing-gree...

I found that page while searching for the “Latest Military Deployment” page as mentioned in this article in TT: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2020/09/18/2003743635. In true TT fashion, they report on the website without providing the URL, unless I somehow missed it which is entirely possible at 5:45 AM.

US Marines training on Taiwan

by dulan drift, Friday, September 18, 2020, 20:20 (79 days ago) @ dan

That's interesting. Good idea - might as well get some familiarity with the terrain and weather - which is challenging.

The other point from the article is Japan's importance - both geographically and as a fighting force. If there was a US-Japan core alliance - that's not to be sneezed at - though neither is a potential Russia-China one.

Haha - i looked for that Latest Military Deployment page too. That would be cool. Found the Ministry's page ok but couldn't see any link there.

Photo shows Chinese bomber monitored by Taiwan fighter jet in Feb - that's bloody close.

[image]

PLA Airforce Incursions

by dulan drift, Saturday, September 19, 2020, 11:53 (78 days ago) @ dulan drift

It's just getting worse and worse. Yesterday "at least 18 Chinese military aircraft" flew into Taiwan's zone, reportedly just 68km from Hsinchu. In a jet fighter, 68km is a few minutes away.

It looks like China is hell-bent on trying to provoke an incident - anything to give it an excuse to start a war.

PLA Airforce Incursions

by dulan drift, Monday, September 21, 2020, 07:13 (76 days ago) @ dulan drift

According to the TT: "a military source said that Taiwan would not make any provocative moves, but would reserve “the right to launch a defensive first strike” if Chinese forces attack.

Man, imagine being a Taiwanese jet fighter pilot right now - or the person manning the surface to air missile battery - or a commander. That's gotta be stressful. 'Here comes a fleet of attack craft heading towards Taiwan - do i pull the trigger and start a war - or not?'

PLA Airforce Incursions

by dan @, Monday, September 21, 2020, 12:22 (76 days ago) @ dulan drift

I had the same thought reading that article. One hopes they all have very clear, and well practiced, guidelines on when to do what so that there's no ambiguity.

I also wondered to what extent those air defense systems are automated.

PLA Airforce Incursions

by dan @, Monday, September 21, 2020, 12:19 (76 days ago) @ dulan drift

Yesterday it was 19:

"A fleet of 19 Chinese military aircraft yesterday morning flew into Taiwan’s airspace in a pincer formation, marking the second consecutive day of such incursions, the Ministry of National Defense said.

Taiwan’s military responded by scrambling jets, issuing radio warnings, and mobilizing surveillance and air defense systems, the ministry said.

The Chinese aircraft fleet comprised 12 J-16 multirole strike fighters, two J-10 lightweight fighters, two J-11 air superiority fighters, two H-6 strategic bombers and a Y-8 transport plane, the ministry said. "

https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/front/archives/2020/09/20/2003743742

PLA Airforce promo video

by dulan drift, Tuesday, September 22, 2020, 06:21 (75 days ago) @ dan

This is provocative. A PLA promo video supposedly showing the airforce bombing Guam - includes spliced in scenes from Hollywood blockbusters.

https://youtu.be/fj1wCjIitIU

PLA Airforce promo video

by dan @, Tuesday, September 22, 2020, 09:39 (75 days ago) @ dulan drift

Yeah it sucks because our two options for retirement are Guam and Taiwan. We have no plan C. Guam is where we plan to head in a couple years. Hope that's still an option when the time comes.

PLA Airforce promo video

by dan @, Sunday, October 04, 2020, 16:27 (63 days ago) @ dan

Trump getting COVID adds a new dimension to the China/Taiwan conflict. There has been a school of thought that the upcoming likelihood of a contested US election would provide an opportunity for China to make a move of some sort in the South China Sea due to the lack of clear leadership in the US.

Well, that scenario has gotten a huge boost with Trump getting COVID, and perhaps a bump up on the calendar. If Trump becomes incapacitated and Pence is in charge, and the Senate is in disarray because a number of its members are out with COVID, or any number of other consequences of this whole mess throws US leadership into question, then China will have a clear window of advantage. In other words, right now, the US is in a weakened state, and it could get dramatically worse in coming weeks.

If Trump is taken out of the election, then we're looking at something that has never before happened in the US, a presidential candidate dropping out, willingly or not, weeks before the election. Millions of votes have already been cast.

Even if he does continue to run, he'll be out of action for at least ten days, and it appears that many people at the core of his team are now coming down with COVID. What a movie this will make! You can't make this shit up and make it believable.

Quad meeting

by dulan drift, Wednesday, October 07, 2020, 08:12 (60 days ago) @ dan

Never heard of this before but Quad is high-level meeting of Foreign Affairs ministers from the US, India, Japan, and Australia, which is currently being held in Tokyo, specifically to address growing China influence in the region.

That's quite provocative. It also gives an insight into the likely coalition if worse comes to worst.

Australia is the minnow-state there - some people argue Australia should not be putting its head on the China chopping block by participating in such activities since it has become so dependent on China money. There has been/will be economic consequences, but the question is: 'Are human rights more important than short term economic gain?'

For many leaders the answer to that is 'No.' I understand that reasoning, but glad to see it is being reappraised.

Taiwanese arrested for taking photos

by dulan drift, Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 11:17 (54 days ago) @ dulan drift

"A CCTV current affairs program that aired on Sunday night detailed what it said was a confession by a Taiwanese man, Morrison Lee (李孟居), who was arrested on Oct. 31 last year during a visit to Shenzhen after traveling to Hong Kong in August that year."

What was he 'guilty' of? Taking photos of police massing on the HK border in preparation for the crackdown on HK, then sharing the photos on LINE.

My advice to anyone with pro-democracy views is: 'Don't go to China'.

If you're a politician spruiking the Belt and Road then you'll be fine - you'll be feted and flattered. But if you've posted support online for Taiwan, Honk Kong, Xinjiang, or Tibet, then it's gotten to the point where it's almost an act of stupidity to visit China.

Invasion after election?

by dulan drift, Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 11:36 (54 days ago) @ dulan drift

There was another report of a mock amphibious invasion today, but with Trump looking like he's gone, I'd be surprised if anything happens before the election.

If I'm the Chinese leadership i'd be biding for Biden to get in then resume the creeping control of global organizations that i'd been working on for the past couple of decades. The fact that Biden said he would rejoin WHO "on my first day as President" astonishes me. Who was clamoring for that? Apart from China. Why say that?

Then I'd pick my moment to invade Taiwan. Yes, the UN would release a statement condemning the invasion and saying 'conflicts should be resolved by peaceful means' - but do nothing. Game over.

Pratas Islands flashpoint

by dulan drift, Saturday, October 17, 2020, 08:32 (50 days ago) @ dulan drift

Previously we've suggested that a likely trigger scenario would be an incident involving one of Taiwan's islands. Following that logic, the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島) could be the most likely candidate.

1. They are quite far from Taiwan, being 310 km southeast of HK

2. Taiwan, which has 250 coast guards on the island, needs to fly through HK airspace to get there - in fact the island is within HK airspace. That was fine before the CCP crackdown on HK, but it's not now.

3. They would be a sitting duck for the PLA to invade

4. There would be questions in the US and Taiwan about whether it was worth going to the trouble of defending

Interestingly, TT reported today that a recent UNI Air supply flight chartered by the military was refused permission to fly through HK airspace to get there due to "dangerous activities" being conducted in the area.

No information was given as to what these activities were or when they might end. Taipei is saying there are no dangerous activities that would prevent safe passage.

Is this the beginning of a blockade of the island?

Pratas Islands flashpoint

by dan @, Saturday, October 17, 2020, 10:21 (50 days ago) @ dulan drift

Yep, that TT article caught my eye. I think it's a huge red flag. It could be the beginning of an air blockade, or at least China testing the waters for one. It strikes me as a pretty big deal, a sign of things to come.

As you point out, it's location and relative international obscurity make it less likely that the US or other countries would support Taiwan in a confrontation over the island(s). This barely reported (so far) event could signal the beginning of a new aggressive strategy.

Pratas Islands flashpoint

by dan @, Monday, October 19, 2020, 18:49 (48 days ago) @ dan

I'm not sure where this fits in. Perhaps because it's another example of explicit, physical intimidation on a remote island.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/10/19/taiwan-says-diplomat-injured-in-clash-with-ch...

"A Taiwanese government employee ended up in hospital in Fiji this month after two Chinese diplomats stormed into a reception trying to gather information on who was attending, Taiwan’s foreign ministry said on Monday.

The confrontation broke out on October 8 when the Taiwanese tried to stop the Chinese diplomats from taking photos of guests at the event to mark Taiwan’s National Day, a ministry spokeswoman said in a written statement."

Has Tsai called Biden to offer congratulations?

by dulan drift, Saturday, November 14, 2020, 17:24 (22 days ago) @ dan

I'm not sure where this fits in. Perhaps because it's another example of explicit, physical intimidation on a remote island.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/10/19/taiwan-says-diplomat-injured-in-clash-with-ch...

"A Taiwanese government employee ended up in hospital in Fiji this month after two Chinese diplomats stormed into a reception trying to gather information on who was attending, Taiwan’s foreign ministry said on Monday.

The confrontation broke out on October 8 when the Taiwanese tried to stop the Chinese diplomats from taking photos of guests at the event to mark Taiwan’s National Day, a ministry spokeswoman said in a written statement."

That became one of those 'suppressed stories'. Which is a worry. Coz it's an insight as to what all Taiwanese could expect if the island fell.

Also haven't heard a reporter ask:

"Mr Biden, has there been a congratulatory call from Tsai Ing-wen - and if there has - did you take it?"

The answer to that simple question would tell us a lot.

We're in an interesting phase right now. Trump potentially thinking well if i can't have the Presidency, i'll light the fucking joint up!

Apart from Covid running wild and deploying troops on the street to put down protesters, another good way would be to start a war with China. He hasn't been a war-monger president - so hopefully he won't do it out of spite.

According to this poll, 86.4% of Taiwanese believe only the people of Taiwan have the right determine the nation's future. 73.4% support a military/cyber self-defense, bolstered by international forces. But nobody wants a war. Get ready - fight it if you have to - but don't start it.

Tsai seems pretty brainy, so she doesn't need my advice - for sure she's got her dudes working on the cyber-stuff like crazy. Defensively, offensively.

I wonder if there's a cyber piece-of-the-puzzle that China is waiting to fall into place...? Turn off the electricity, as Dan mentioned, being the Holy Grail. If i was Xi, and anywhere near close to achieving that - that would make me very patient.

Secretive visit of US Admiral

by dulan drift, Wednesday, November 25, 2020, 18:28 (11 days ago) @ dulan drift

"A two-star US Navy admiral overseeing US military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region has made an unannounced visit to Taiwan, two sources told Reuters on Sunday.

The sources, who include a Taiwanese official familiar with the situation, said the official was Rear Admiral Michael Studeman. They were speaking on condition of anonymity."

My bet is China will just wait things out now - back to Plan A - the creeping assumption. Seems to have been a drop off in 'military exercises' since the election.

Secretive visit of US Admiral

by dan @, Wednesday, November 25, 2020, 18:41 (11 days ago) @ dulan drift

Yeah, I think China is too smart to fall for this desperate Trump tactic. I suspect he set this up in the hopes it would result in some sort of hot, headline grabbing event that in his sick mind he could somehow parlay into a power grab allowing him to keep the presidency. The guy is sick; he's mentally ill. I'm sure of that. What disturbs me is that such a mentally ill person can somehow manage to get so many people to vote for him.

I am in favor of some of the Trump administration policies, including some of those regarding China, but there's no denying that Trump is mentally ill. I could reference this recent article: https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/11/23/trump-mentally-unfit-president-column... But I don't think that's necessary.

Biologically enhanced super-soldiers

by dulan drift, Friday, December 04, 2020, 07:53 (2 days ago) @ dan

According to John Ratcliffe (paywall), US Director of National Intelligence:

"China has conducted human testing on members of the People’s Liberation Army in hope of developing soldiers with biologically enhanced capabilities."

That's not surprising. If you're not bound by cumbersome ethics considerations then the sky's the limit so far as this kind of bio-tech goes.

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