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Image: Kinmen lies closer to Fujian Province than to Taiwan. Credit The New York Times

J. Michael Cole, National Interest: Taiwan's Master Plan to Defeat China in a War

China could get more than it bargained for...

A consensus seems to have developed among a large number of defense analysts in recent years arguing that despite the balance of power having shifted in China’s favor, Beijing has no intention to use its military to invade Taiwan and thus resolve the Taiwan “question” once and for all. Doing so would be too costly, some argue, while others contend that Beijing can accomplish unification by creating enough economic dependence and incentives to convince Taiwanese over time of the “inevitability” of a “reunited” China.

Although these factors certainly militate against the desire to go to war over the island-nation, we cannot altogether discount the probability that the Chinese military would be called into action, especially if the rationale for launching an attack were framed in terms of a defensive war—China being “forced” to take action because of changing and “untenable” circumstances in its environment.

WNU Editor: I worked/lived in Fujian Province in the mid 1980s (it is the Chinese province across from Taiwan), and if the Chinese were to invade Taiwan it would be from this province that they would launch their attack. During my stay in the 1980s I noticed two things .... (1) the Chinese military did not have the means or resources to invade Taiwan, and (2) the overwhelming opinion in Fujian was against any Chinese attack .... more so than in the city of Xiamen where one can also see in the distance the Taiwanese island of Kinmen from its coast (see above image). This public mood was not a surprise .... even at that time there were many Taiwanese living in Fujian .... and they were bringing their money and economic expertise to the region thereby influencing opinion and creating jobs. On my last visit to Fujian a few years ago .... I noticed that nothing has changed since the 1980s. The Chinese military is nowhere to be seen, and the public mood in Fujian is more hostile to any notion of attacking Taiwan. But I understand that the Taiwanese do not want to take any chances ... hence their strategy to defend their island. My suggestion to the Taiwanese is to keep on doing what they have been doing for the past 30 years .... keep the economic and cultural links open, stay "low and quiet", and do not upset Beijing.

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