China's lessons from Russia's war

Russia's military and economic challenges in Ukraine won't affect Xi's goal of reunification with Taiwan. Rather, they are likely to compel him to double down on ensuring that the Chinese military is fully prepared to take Taiwan by force should he give the order.

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Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb 24, two views quickly emerged in the West about what lesson China would take from the war.

The first suggested that Nato's failure to deter Russia - or to defend Ukraine directly - would inspire China to advance the timetable for a planned invasion of Taiwan, or even to capitalise on the chaos brought about by the war to attack the island immediately. But after Russia's military ran into significant and unexpected challenges early on, an alternate line of analysis emerged suggesting that China has now been significantly deterred from ever attempting to take Taiwan.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2022, with the headline China's lessons from Russia's war. Subscribe