- The Washington Times - Friday, December 10, 1999

On Dec. 8, Taiwan’s highly capable vice president, the Hon. Lien Chan, told a military audience that Taiwan should develop its own “long-range ground-to-ground” missiles capable of withstanding an attack by China’s People’s Liberation Army. He did not use the word “nuclear” but a Taiwan missile program of this type would be provocative without being effective as a deterrent if it is not nuclear-armed.
Why would the Republic of China’s government make such an extraordinary policy change?
The answer lies in another event of Dec. 8. On that day The Washington Times’ Bill Gertz reported in a major story that America’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has discovered a second PLA missile base built around caves very near China’s coast. Both this base and the first one discovered in October by DIA are part of a massive missile build-up targeting all of Taiwan’s most important military facilities. Pentagon officials quoted by Mr. Gertz noted that these new missile bases reduce Taiwan’s warning time to virtually zero and encourages Communist China on the road to war in the Far East.
It is a tragic lesson of this century that appeasement begets war. Might deters war. Elected officials on Taiwan have told us they are being challenged on Taiwan talk radio programs by their constituents with repeated statements of “let’s blast ‘em.” The trepidation and bravado behind such statements is very understandable. The Clinton/ Gore administration’s complete tilt to the PRC leaves the democratic Republic of China with an imperative for home-grown self-defense. In today’s world, it is a harsh reality that the American Executive Branch can not be trusted to stand up to the PRC.
The American people are without doubt on the side of freedom and democracy. Elected officials on both sides of the aisle and both sides of Capitol Hill would reflect this reality if in session and given a chance. The Clinton/Gore administration would be forced into coming to Taiwan’s aid.
The simple problem is the unprecedented build-up of first-strike precision-guided munitions on the PRC coast would ensure a successful overwhelming attack to destroy Taiwan’s military. This would be the first phase of the conquest of Taiwan.
We believe Taiwan is increasingly vulnerable to a surprise attack along the following lines:
The attack could come on Chinese New Year(usually February) and when U.S. Congress is on February recess.
The Chinese having stationed their Sovremenny destroyers (with eight nuclear tipped supersonic missiles per ship) around Taiwan, would inform the U.S. State Department to stay out of the conflict. An amphibious task force would move from the mainland toward Taiwan as either a strategic deception or sacrificial force.
The PLA’s precision-guided ballistic and cruise missiles would simultaneously hit Taiwan’s navy and air force as well as selected ground targets.
The PLA would launch a massive information warfare assault on the island. Some command and control networks would be destroyed while others would be deliberately spared so they could be manipulated from the inside.
All radio and television signals would be jammed and PLA hackers would broadcast a false image of Taiwan’s President Lee ordering his military to surrender.
The PLA would not shut down the banking system, but instead it wound scramble the accounts so they could never be reconstructed. Meanwhile, the wealth of Taiwan’s political and economic elite would be transferred to communist-controlled accounts abroad.
The power grid would be left in place until the information warfare campaign had done its work, and a surge of electricity would blow out the electrical grid.
Taiwan’s industrial base factories, refineries, nuclear power stations, would be corrupted or destroyed.
One civilian airport would be deliberately left open so the hope of escape would contribute to the panic and chaos among the population.
The Chinese information warfare campaign would deliberately leave some Taiwanese radar systems intact to warn of “virtual assaults,” feeding the confusion.
Fifth columns at home and abroad would spread rumors and try to keep Washington confused and divided.
Special forces and airborne troops would take over one of Taiwan’s major airbases. A well-known Taiwanese political figure who had been co-opted as a Quisling would send a message to Washington rescinding any of Taipei’s calls for help.
It would be all over in 72 hours.

Edward Timperlake and William C. Triplett II are the authors of “Red Dragon Rising” (Regnery 1999.)

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