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22 Apr, 2023 19:10

Wargame reveals key US weakness in potential Taiwan war

A think tank has found that Washington would be unable to resupply the island with weapons in the event of a Chinese invasion
Wargame reveals key US weakness in potential Taiwan war

A wargame modeling exercise ordered by a US congressional committee has shown that it would be impossible for Washington to resupply Taiwan with weapons and equipment after a Chinese invasion of the self-governing island.

The exercise was carried out this week by the US House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, with help from think tank Center for a New American Security in Washington. “We are well within the window of maximum danger for a Chinese Communist Party invasion of Taiwan, and yesterday’s war game stressed the need to take action to deter CCP aggression and arm Taiwan to the teeth before any crisis begins,” US Representative Mike Gallagher, a Wisconsin Republican who chairs the committee, said on Thursday in a statement.

The exercise showed that US forces would suffer heavy losses if the Pentagon doesn’t shore up its stockpiles of long-range missiles and negotiate use of more military bases in the Asia-Pacific region, Reuters reported, citing an unidentified person familiar with the modeling results. The conflict would leave the world’s financial markets in “absolute tatters.”

“The business community is not taking the threat of a Taiwan crisis seriously enough,” Gallagher said, warning that a lax attitude on the issue “verges on dereliction of fiduciary duty.”

Tensions in the Taiwan Strait have escalated in the past year, with Chinese President Xi Jinping vowing to reunify the mainland with its breakaway province – by force if necessary – and US President Joe Biden repeatedly hinting that Washington would intervene militarily if China invaded. Beijing broke off security and climate ties with the US last August, after then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shrugged off warnings from Chinese officials and went through with a visit to Taipei.

Earlier this year, another Washington think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), ran 24 different wargame scenarios for a US-China conflict over Taiwan. The study found the US and Japan would emerge victorious but that they would lose dozens of warships, hundreds of planes and thousands of troops. Taiwan would be left in ruins, while China would lose hundreds of ships and aircraft, as well as tens of thousands of troops, the CSIS said.

In light of the resupply problem, Gallagher said, Washington must accelerate deliveries of the $19 billion in US weaponry that Taiwan has ordered. He also called for more joint training exercises, reinforcement of US military installations in the region, and increased missile production.

“The goal of course is to deter China from launching the invasion,” Gallagher said in a Fox News interview before Wednesday’s wargame. “One of the obvious lessons from the failure of deterrence in Ukraine is that when it breaks down, it’s very costly in terms of lives and blood and treasure. So we are conducting this wargame in order to prevent a war.”

Gallagher added that “peace can only be achieved through strength, particularly since Xi Jinping appears to be preparing his country for war. I’m sure he’d prefer to have conquest without war. We need to be ready, and we’re not moving fast enough.”