The People's Liberation Army (PLA) has “set its sights to 2027" in terms of achieving the capability to invade Taiwan, a Pentagon report issued Nov. 29 has claimed.
The 196-page annual report on the "Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China," also known as the 2022 China Military Power Report details China's military development and external actions from 2021 through 2022.
The report mentioned that since last year, Beijing has expanded its diplomatic, economic, political, and military pressure on Taiwan. At the same time, it has continued to take "provocative and destabilizing actions" in the Taiwan Strait and has frequently conducted island-seizure drills.
The paper listed four possible military actions the Chinese could take against Taiwan, including air and naval blockades; limited force or coercive operations; air and missile campaigns; and a full-scale invasion of the country.
Four Possible PLA Military Actions against Taiwan as per Pentagon
Air and Maritime Blockade
Citing the PLA’s “Joint Blockade Campaign,” the report said Beijing would block Taiwan's sea and air traffic, cut off import and export routes, launch large-scale missile attacks, and seize Taiwan's outer islands in an attempt to force the country to surrender. In addition, the PLA may simultaneously launch electronic warfare, cyber-attacks, and information operations against Taiwan to further isolate its government and people and to control international messaging on the operation.
Limited Force or Coercive Options
Under this scheme, the report points out that the PLA may carry out "disruptive, punitive, or lethal" military assaults with a limited scope such as cyber-attacks or kinetic strikes on Taiwan's political, military, and economic infrastructure within a narrower scope, in order to cause panic in Taiwan and reduce the trust of the populace in the leadership. Meanwhile, PLA special operations forces could infiltrate Taiwan and carry out attacks on infrastructure or high-level government officials.
Air and Missile Campaign
The PRC could use precision missile and air strikes against key government and military targets, including air bases, radar sites, missiles, space assets, and communications facilities to degrade Taiwan’s defenses, neutralize Taiwan’s leadership, or undermine the public’s resolve to resist, as per the report.
Invasion of Taiwan
PLA documents present different approaches to an amphibious invasion of Taiwan, the most notable of which is the "Joint Island Landing Campaign." Such an operation would entail a complex operation that combines electronic warfare, logistics, air, and naval support.
The objectives are to break through or circumvent shore defenses, establish a beachhead, build up combat power along Taiwan’s western coastline, and seize key targets or the entire island.
The report mentioned that a large-scale amphibious landing operation is one of the most difficult and complex military operations. It requires the acquisition of air and sea superiority, quickly establishing a strong supply chain onshore, and unencumbered support.
2027 is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the PLA, and it is also the target date set by Chinese President Xi Jinping for full modernization of the military. The report stated that the PLA plans to accelerate the integration of military forces before 2027.
If the goal is achieved, the PLA will have a "more credible military tool for the Chinese Communist Party to wield" as it seeks to unify Taiwan by force by that time, according to the report.