By Invitation

Taiwan needs a defence strategy overhaul

Outgunned by China, it needs an asymmetric approach to warfighting instead of focusing on flashy weapons systems. There are ways the US can help nudge Taipei in the right direction.

Analysts have urged Taipei to adopt an asymmetric approach to warfighting. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
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The recent crisis in the Taiwan Strait, with a high-profile visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi immediately followed by Chinese retaliation that included unusually menacing military exercises, rightly drew attention to the cross-strait war plans of the two big powers. But the outcome of such a war, and indeed whether or not it occurs, would also depend heavily on Taiwan's defence strategy.

From the Korean War up to about a decade ago, the Republic of China (ROC) government on Taiwan could base its defence strategy on three assumptions. First, although the ROC armed forces were numerically smaller than the forces of the People's Republic of China (PRC), they were qualitatively superior. Second, China lacked the capability to project sufficient power across the roughly 160km-wide Taiwan Strait to conquer Taiwan.

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