Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Does Taiwan’s military stand a chance against China? Few think so

Must Read

‘Laptop from Hell’ Affirms Joe Biden Is the ‘Big Man,’ Expected 10% Cut from Deal with Chinese Giant

The New York Post’s October 2020 bombshell report of emails from Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop should have upended the...

Australian woman set fire to COVID-19 quarantine hotel, police say

An Australian woman is facing arson charges after she allegedly set fire to the COVID-19 quarantine hotel where she...

CNN responds amid new Chris Cuomo revelations from NY attorney general probe into brother

Good morning and welcome to Fox News First. Here's what you need to know as you start your...

The concern that China might try to seize Taiwan is preoccupying American military planners and administration officials. Few of them think Taiwan’s military could hold the line.

Soldiers, strategists, and government officials in Taiwan and the U.S. say the island’s military is riven with internal problems, many of which have built up over years of calm and economic prosperity and now are eating away at Taiwan’s ability to deter China.

FILE: Taiwanese soldiers salute during National Day celebrations in front of the Presidential Building in Taipei, Taiwan. 
(AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

Among the most pressing concerns are poor preparation and low morale among the roughly 80,000 Taiwanese who are conscripted each year and the nearly 2.2 million reservists.

Xiao Cheng-zhi, a 26-year-old from central Taiwan, said his four months of basic training that ended last year mainly involved sweeping leaves, moving spare tires and pulling weeds. Aside from some marksmanship training, he said, his classes were meaningless.

CHINA TO GIVE COVID VACCINE TO CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS 3

Mr. Xiao dismissed his cohorts as strawberry soldiers, a term used in Taiwan to describe young people raised by overprotective parents who bruise easily. While he said he is willing to serve, he doubted the island would stand much chance against China’s People’s Liberation Army.

FILE: In this undated file photo released by the Taiwan Ministry of Defense, a Chinese PLA J-16 fighter jet flies in an undisclosed location

FILE: In this undated file photo released by the Taiwan Ministry of Defense, a Chinese PLA J-16 fighter jet flies in an undisclosed location
(Taiwan Ministry of Defense via AP)

China’s Communist Party considers Taiwan part of its territory despite never having ruled it. Although there is no sign of imminent conflict, Beijing has made clear it intends to bring Taiwan under its control eventually.

In interviews, Taiwanese soldiers and reservists expressed concerns about training and readiness. One said he watched American war movies during training after running out of useful things to do. Another said he spent a lot of time reading and drawing, and that there wasn’t much to worry about anyway. Public opinion polls and interviews suggest many Taiwanese expect the U.S. to take charge if serious danger arises.

US COUNTERINTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS WARN OF THREATS FROM CHINA, RUSSIA TO EMERGING TECHNOLOGY

Two young men described how they had put on extra weight to get disqualified from military conscription, a practice some Taiwanese youths say is common. One said he stuffed himself with large meals every four hours for a month, including McDonald’s combo meals, to gain enough pounds to be exempted.

Chinese Air Force personnel march past the Chinese military's J10C fighter and JH-7A2 fighter bomber during 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, in Zhuhai in southern China's Guangdong province. 

Chinese Air Force personnel march past the Chinese military’s J10C fighter and JH-7A2 fighter bomber during 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2021, Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, in Zhuhai in southern China’s Guangdong province. 
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Grant Newsham, a retired U.S. Marines colonel who spent 2019 in Taiwan studying the island’s defenses, said Taiwan has a solid core of well-trained troops and “superb officers that are ready to fight.” Other military experts compare Taiwan’s top pilots and officers to the world’s best.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

But the Taiwanese military is underfunded, and its reserves system is a shambles, Mr. Newsham said. It needs improved pay packages, and it could become far more effective by training with the U.S. and its allies, he said.

To continue reading on The Wall Street Journal, click here

Read more