US arms sales sound death knell for Taiwan authorities: Global Times editorial
Published: Aug 05, 2021 09:13 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The Pentagon said on Wednesday that the US State Department approved the potential sale of 40 155mm M109A6 Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer artillery systems to the island of Taiwan in a deal worth up to $750 million, according to Reuters. It was the first major arms sale announced since US President Joe Biden took office. Furthermore, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said on Tuesday that Japan was hoping to deploy anti-aircraft and anti-ship missile units to Ishigaki - just 185 miles from Taiwan, Newsweek reported. Japanese media said such deployment involves the deterrence of Japan's Self-defense Forces to help defend Taiwan.

The M109A6 self-propelled howitzer system is said to be second only to the US military's latest M109A7 system, with a range of 24 to 40 kilometers and a launch preparation time of about one minute. The armed forces in the island of Taiwan hope that the addition of these self-propelled howitzers will increase their anti-landing capabilities and deter the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

We'd like to say that this is such a naïve idea. The Taiwan authorities have fallen into a narrow mindset, and so has the vision of the armed forces in Taiwan. If an all-out war breaks out across the Taiwan Straits, the PLA will definitely carry out a saturation attack on Taiwan's military targets. Chen Shui-bian, former regional leader of Taiwan, said in 2007 that the Chinese mainland had over 1,000 ballistic missiles aimed at the island. Now the PLA must be able to mobilize more and stronger forces for the first round of strikes. At that time, none of the targets in Taiwan, ranging from airports to missile and artillery positions, to the military command center, can survive. And Taiwan's transportation will immediately be disrupted.

Will there be any scope for the island to exploit the capabilities of its self-propelled howitzers? There's only limited land facing the Chinese mainland on which Taiwan's self-propelled howitzers can move around. The PLA is clearly aware of the location of every house or tree there. Against this backdrop, can self-propelled howitzers be maneuvered under the PLA's nose? Even if some of the self-propelled howitzers survived, would the terrified soldiers in Taiwan be able to drive or aim?

The armed forces in Taiwan should be clear that once a war breaks out, the only way to survive is to surrender, and all resistance is pointless. It is believed that many soldiers in Taiwan see joining the military as a career to earn a living and they gamble they will not encounter a war. Once a war takes place, an overwhelming saturation attack from the Chinese mainland will instantly destroy the morale of the entire armed forces of Taiwan, and all the weapons and equipment sold by the US to Taiwan will either become the spoils of the PLA, or be destroyed by the PLA immediately.

Taiwan's security can only be achieved through political means. That is to accept the one-China principle, draw a clear line from the US strategy to contain the Chinese mainland, actively discuss ways of peaceful reunification with the mainland and follow the right path of "one country, two systems." Using force to resist reunification or seek secessionism is a dead end for the Taiwan authorities. Taiwan's military expenditure is only enough for some powder-puff actions facing the PLA. And to deal with the PLA, Taiwan may have to use all of its GDP to buy arms.

Speaking of Japan's military construction on the islands close to Taiwan to deter the situation in Taiwan, it is equivalent to being a cannon fodder of the US to contain China's rise. Once a war breaks out in the Taiwan Straits and a missile targeting the PLA is launched from Japanese islands, those islands will immediately suffer from saturation attacks. China's DF-17 hypersonic missile is very suitable for this task.

If the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force dares to gamble further, the PLA will eliminate it, attack its military bases and vent Chinese people's anger since the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895. China's DF-21D and DF-26 anti-ship ballistic missiles will be a clear message to Japanese rightists that the times have turned.

Chinese people love peace. China has already become the world's largest trading country, and China's super industrial production capacity is benefiting all mankind. For example, the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has relied on the great ability of China's industry to concentrate its production of key materials. The US and Japan should not force China to use such power to produce Dongfeng ballistic missiles, which can completely destroy their fleet and Asia-Pacific military base. For China, producing these ballistic missiles is no more difficult than producing ventilators.

Therefore, the US and Japan need to restrain their strategic arrogance toward China and refrain from making provocative gestures to China to avoid fatal misjudgments.

China is Japan's largest trading partner. There are many Japanese-made cars on the streets of China, and many Japanese products are widely welcome by Chinese consumers. Japan should focus on doing business with China and drop the illusion of confronting 1.4 billion Chinese people.