In the wake of alarming incursions by Chinese Communist regime bombers in the vicinity of Taiwan, U.S. officials revealed that special operations Marines have been training the big island’s military forces since last year. 

The presence of these support specialists had not been disclosed before. It would indicate the Pentagon’s concern about the increased risk of invasion from the mainland, according to The Wall Street Journal Sept. 7. 

“I would note the PRC has stepped up efforts to intimidate and pressure Taiwan, including increasing military activities conducted in the vicinity of Taiwan, which we believe are destabilizing and increase the risk of miscalculation,” Pentagon spokesman John Supple said in a statement.

While Taiwan has invested billions of dollars in the purchase of high-precision war equipment, it has not emphasized enough basic but effective defense strategies in the event of dealing with an incursion by the Communist Party of China (CPC) military. 

These would be tactics to defend against an amphibious landing or training for dozens of other operations needed to defend the island.

Meanwhile, a visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution who served as deputy national security adviser during the Trump administration, Matt Pottinger, analyzed the defense strategy pursued by Taiwan. 

“Taiwan badly neglected its national defense for the first 15 years or so of this century, buying too much expensive equipment that will get destroyed in the first hours of a conflict, and too little in the way of cheaper but lethal systems—antiship missiles, smart sea mines and well-trained reserve and auxiliary forces—that could seriously complicate Beijing’s war plans,” Pottinger said. 

For Pottinger, Taiwan’s investment in defense is comparatively small when compared to Singapore, which has a quarter of Taiwan’s population and “doesn’t have China breathing down its neck.”

It should be recalled that the CCP insists on seizing Taiwan using force if necessary, even though its inhabitants have elected their own democratic government for decades and proclaimed their independence.

The United States has shown broad support for the defense of the island and its 23 million inhabitants, even though in 1979 Congress had approved the termination of formal ties with Taiwan, a defense agreement, and the withdrawal of its forces from the island, however, has been relaxed. 

U.S. President Joe Biden ratified that he would comply with the 1979 agreement, which in a way generates uncertainty. 

One of the points that could show weaknesses in the Chinese army is the training of its soldiers due to the complexity of their social formation.

The fact that 80% of the soldiers who take up arms are only children means that each of them has been cared for by up to six people in their families, including parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, which eventually makes them consider themselves the “navel of the universe.”

They also bear the psychological burden of answering for their older family members, which interferes with their performance on the battlefield. 

In addition, discipline and other training restrictions have had to be reduced due to these circumstances, which would reduce the soldiers’ war effectiveness.

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