New Delhi, April 14: With the Russia-Ukraine war prolonging, Taiwan is preparing itself for the eventuality that China may also launch a military assault on the island nation.
On Tuesday, the island nation published a handbook for civilians on how to prepare for a potential Chinese invasion, including where to find bomb shelters and how to stockpile emergency supplies. It also held air force drills.
Baladas Ghoshal, former Professor and Chair in Southeast Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University & Secretary General, Society for Indian Ocean Studies, told India Narrative that it is but natural for a small State like Taiwan to be worried. “For Taiwan it is an existential crisis. Taiwanese actions show that it is signalling to China that it is getting ready for the crisis”.
Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, speculation has been rife that China may be tempted to follow in Russia’s footsteps. The perception holds also because China’s paramount leader Xi Jinping has announced on many occasions that he will take over the island nation even if he has to do so through military might.
Living under the shadow of communist big brother China, Taiwan is taking these threats seriously.
The handbook for civilians is a 28-page guide which tells residents where to find bomb shelters using mobile phones and what to do in an emergency. It includes information for the public on what to do during natural disasters and during air raids, fires, building collapses, power outages and natural disasters. Liu Tai-yi, an official of the ministry’s All-Out Defence Mobilisation Agency, said: “The guide is for the public to better prepare themselves before a war or disaster happens. We hope the public can familiarise themselves where the safety shelters are”.
Ghoshal adds: “Xi has reached a crucial point in his career and pinnacle of power. If things go wrong with Taiwan, it would be the end of Xi. He already has enemies in the Communist Party of China (CPC) who are waiting to throw him out of power. I think he would like to play safe regarding Taiwan”.
If Taiwan is preparing for the worst, China too is taking lessons from the Russia-Ukraine war.
It has already noticed that even if NATO did not fight the war against Russia, it has kept the pipeline full with weapons and finances, allowing the Ukrainians to bog down Russia. China seems to be imagining a similar scenario for itself in Taiwan and whether it can get away by capturing the island in a short, swift but decisive attack.
Ghoshal says that the prevailing global circumstances do not seem to favour China for an attack. The communist country is looking at the finances of the war as its own economy is suffering due to the Russian war. “Any attack on Taiwan right now will reflect on the BRICS meeting as well as the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) meeting later this year. I do not think China will take any precipitous action right now. The CPC meeting is important for Xi and support from members will bestow extra legitimacy on him,” says Ghoshal.
China is worried because the Russian attack has disrupted the global economy. China itself is so interwoven in international trade and commerce that any further disturbance by an action that Beijing might undertake could be detrimental to China itself. Its own economy is currently in a spin due to multiple factors and a thoughtful Beijing would not want to rock its own boat and also incur global public displeasure.
(The content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)