TAIPEI (Reuters) – Russia’s poor performance in its Ukraine war will make China more cautious about attacking Taiwan as Beijing is watching the conflict to learn military lessons, Taiwan’s government on Wednesday cited a meeting of senior advisers as saying.
Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, has raised its alert level since the Russian invasion, wary of Beijing possibly making a similar move on the island, though it has reported no signs this is about to happen.
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said in a statement following a meeting of its China policy advisers that Beijing was watching Russia’s combat experience, Ukraine’s resistance and international sanctions “to deduce the possible situation of a conflict in the Taiwan Strait”.
It cited the advisers as saying that the war had “great lessons” for China’s People’s Liberation Army, “especially the Russian military’s over-estimation of its long-range precision strikes”.
Russia misjudged the war situation, did not properly analyse intelligence and its generals were promoted based on personal relationships, not talent, they added.
“This will also affect the trust of Chinese communist leaders in their army, and they will be more cautious when using force.”
Russian precision-guided missiles are failing up to 60% of the time in Ukraine, U.S. officials with knowledge of intelligence on the issue have told Reuters, a possible explanation for the poor progress of Russia’s invasion.
The possible impact of the war on China’s military thinking on Taiwan, and how China could attack the island, has been widely debated in official circles in Taipei.
Asked about those kinds of remarks, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said earlier on Wednesday that the government was willing to make the greatest efforts to achieve “peaceful reunification”.
“At the same time, we will never tolerate Taiwan independence. If Taiwan independence separatist forces dare to provoke and push things, or even cross red lines, we will take decisive measures,” spokesperson Zhu Fenglian said in Beijing.
China has been stepping up its military pressure against Taiwan over the past two years or so.
Taiwan rejects China’s sovereignty claims, and says only the island’s people can decide their future.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard)