Taiwan troops’ fear of war cannot support DPP’s arrogance: Global Times editorial
Published: Oct 26, 2021 11:46 PM
Tsai Ing-wen, the regional leader of the island of Taiwan and the pro-secessionism Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) speaks during the Double Ten address in Taipei on October 10, 2020. Photo: AFP

Tsai Ing-wen, the regional leader of the island of Taiwan and the pro-secessionism Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) speaks during the "Double Ten" address in Taipei on October 10, 2020. Photo: AFP

Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority has repeatedly clamored that once the Chinese mainland carries out reunification by force, the island will defend itself "to the very last day." This is widely regarded as a bluff to boost its own morale. A Wall Street Journal report on Monday quoted several experts as saying that Taiwan's military has "poor preparation and low morale." Also, "adult men in Taiwan don't actually want to fight." The article doubted the island would stand much of a chance against the People's Liberation Army (PLA). The report also advised that the Taiwan military could become far more effective by training with the US. 

However, is it possible to boost the low morale of the Taiwan military by training with the US army? The military power gap between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits is already so wide. The Chinese mainland's military expenditure is more than ten times that of Taiwan. Under modern technological conditions, the Straits are no longer a barricade hard to overcome. Normally, Taiwan's military personnel will not believe their own army can really confront the PLA. It is common sense that such declaration of confrontation can only be manipulated as a political posture, and cannot have actual military significance of "defending Taiwan."

According to the WSJ report, many Taiwan people "expect the US to take charge if serious danger arises." But such expectation is the result of the DPP authority's false propaganda. In fact, the US has always remained strategically ambiguous on the issue of whether to assist in the so-called defense of Taiwan. What the US has publicly promised is to increase Taiwan's self-defense capabilities through the sale of weapons to the island. As the PLA has the ability to prevent US military intervention, the US military's deployment to the Taiwan Straits has been widely regarded as impossible.

This is the true situation of the Taiwan Straits: First, the mainland doesn't want to fight a war. It has the goodwill to seek peaceful reunification and take war as the last resort. Second, the DPP dares not fight. They are bluffing, but know very well that the island's military forces are weak. They cannot withstand even a single blow. If there is a war, Taiwan will be surely defeated and collapse. Third, the US cannot fight. Should it not go into a war there, the Taiwan Straits will be Washington's leverage to contain the mainland. Otherwise, the Straits will become the grave of American soldiers. The US will suffer heavy losses instead of making gains.

Since neither side has the intention to fight, wouldn't the Taiwan Straits be peaceful and worry-free? However, the problem is that there is a confrontation and collision of different political goals in the region, and the foundation of peace has undergone unprecedented turbulence in recent decades.

The DPP authority, which dares not fight, radically discarded the 1992 Consensus after it returned to power five years ago, and broke the political status quo in the Taiwan Straits. The Trump administration listed China as its No.1 competitor, activated the so-called Taiwan card and regarded it as the major leverage to intimidate China. All of this is completely contrary to the long-term trend of peaceful reunification of the two sides of the Taiwan Straits.

The DPP authority arrogantly regards itself as the "democratic forefront against China," playing the role of the "outpost" in the US' Indo-Pacific Strategic to contain China in exchange for Washington's protection. It not only tried to split the country, but also invited the wolf into the house, destroying the political foundation of peace across the Taiwan Straits step by step. It is turning itself into a "political nail" that the rising mainland must pull out.

However, the evil deeds of the DPP authority do not match its determination. It hopes that the mainland will not make real moves due to US pressure, no matter what Taiwan does. The US has no bottom line in manipulating the Taiwan question, which does not match the basic logic of relations between major powers. The US will lead itself into a dilemma by trampling on another major power's core interests.

If the DPP authority has the determination to fight until the end, they could change Taiwan's military service system by making it mandatory to serve in the military for all men, like Israel. Then they should cut all unnecessary expenditures and take most of its GDP as a military budget. But Taiwan only has 180,000 active troops. Most of these are "strawberry soldiers," which is a term used to describe delicate or spoiled youth who cannot withstand the pressures of being in the military. The DPP authority holds the illusion of realizing "Taiwan secession" by simply relying on US and Western opinion. They are daydreaming.

The DPP authority and Washington are rampant while also scrupling. This will inevitably mess up the logic of the situation across the Taiwan Straits, making this region full of extreme confrontations and increase the risk of misjudgment and miscalculation. But for the mainland, our goodwill and patience will not be unlimited. The DPP must stop before it's too late. When military pressure is the only language they can understand, this language is bound to be thunderous. "Taiwan secession" is a dead end, and history will eventually verify this conclusion.