In this Primer, titled ‘Taiwan: Invasion is not likely, but deterrence remains vital’, Charles Parton draws on his four decades of experience working in the PRC to address the question of if an invasion of Taiwan by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will occur in the next decade. He argues that this is unlikely because the resulting economic and political fallout would weaken the CCP’s grip on power and possibly end its reign altogether. The People’s Liberation Army is also not yet capable enough to ensure the invasion is a success.
So far, the CCP has always managed to keep protest confined to local issues; but the likelihood is that a post-invasion [economic] depression would lead to demonstrations on a scale which cross city and county boundaries. They might well become an existential threat to the party.Charles Parton
Mr Parton then explains why an invasion is not likely for military and political reasons, including: unpredictable weather, America’s potential involvement, the geography of Taiwan itself, and the implications of launching a war for a country that proudly – if incorrectly – declares itself to have never done so. He also goes on to outline the potential economic consequences for the CCP that serve to deter an invasion: trade disruption, loss of access to Taiwanese made semiconductors, and likely sanctions from global powers.
Mr Parton concludes by outlining what escalatory measures the PRC may take in the next decade short of a full invasion of Taiwan, from those aimed at Taiwan to those targeting foreign states and individuals who support or do business with the island. He concludes with a series of recommendations for free and open nations about how best to react to CCP pressure in the coming years.