China Project

From Coercion to Capitulation, How China Can Take Taiwan Without a War

Fear that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will invade Taiwan and draw the US into a massive war in the Pacific has for many years driven an increasing American focus on preparing for conflict with the PRC. The expansion of PRC military capabilities and Beijing’s announcement of military expansion milestones in 2027 have intensified those fears and sparked intense debates about America’s potential role in and readiness for deterring and defeating a PRC invasion.

China-Taiwan Weekly Update, May 10, 2024

The Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) has normalized patrols around Kinmen, a Taiwan-controlled island with a large military garrison roughly 3 kilometers from the coast of the PRC. The CCG began patrols in Kinmen’s prohibited waters in February after two PRC fishermen drowned while fleeing from a Taiwanese Coast Guard pursuit on February 14. The PRC pledged after the incident to strengthen law enforcement activities around Kinmen. The PRC has increased the frequency of CCG patrols in Kinmen’s waters and the volume of ships per event since it began routine violations in late February.

China-Taiwan Weekly Update, May 3, 2024

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) eased cross-strait trade and travel restrictions after hosting a Kuomintang (KMT) delegation. The PRC ended the trade bans after hosting the KMT delegation as a form of economic coercion that aims to reduce domestic support for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan. KMT Caucus Whip Fu Kun-chi traveled to the PRC on April 26, where he met with CCP officials throughout the weekend. Fu met with General Administration of Customs Deputy Director Zhao Zenglian on April 28.

China-Taiwan Weekly Update, April 5, 2024

CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized cross-strait relations and economic issues in the US-PRC relationship during a phone call with US President Joe Biden on April 2. The PRC readout of the call did not address the US security concerns, including the PRC's support for Russia and heightened tensions in the South China Sea. Xi and Biden spoke by phone on April 2, in their first direct conversation since their meeting in San Francisco on November 15, 2023. According to the PRC readout of the call, Xi warned that the PRC considers the “Taiwan question” a “red line” and will act to counter Taiwanese “separatists” and external support for them.

China-Taiwan Weekly Update, March 28, 2024

The United States, United Kingdom, and New Zealand accused PRC-state-sponsored cyber threat actors of conducting malicious cyber operations against democratic institutions. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ) charged seven PRC nationals with cybercrimes on March 25. The cybercrimes were espionage and transnational repression in a far-reaching campaign that the PRC’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) directed. The indictment accused the MSS-backed group, referred to as Advanced Persistent Threat 31 (APT 31), of malicious cyber activities focused on infiltrating government networks globally to collect sensitive data from public officials who criticized the PRC.

China-Taiwan Weekly Update, March 22, 2024

The Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) expanded its efforts to erode the Republic of China's (ROC) sovereignty around Kinmen Island. Four CCG ships operated in Taiwan’s territorial waters around Kinmen Island for two consecutive days for the first time on March 15 and 16. One of the ships was a converted naval corvette that conducted the passage with its gun covers removed. The CCG framed its operations as legitimate law enforcement to safeguard Chinese fishermen, including those from Taiwan. The CCG’s removal of its gun covers during its passage through Taiwan’s waters illustrates its offensive posturing, indicating its actions are intended to intimidate the Taiwanese Coast Guard rather than uphold a safe maritime environment. CCG ships have previously used this tactic to intimidate rival law enforcement in contested waters, including the Philippines Coast Guard around Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea.