New war game simulations show that if China invades Taiwan and a full-fledged war breaks out, China would likely lose. However, the cost of such a war would also leave the U.S., Japan and Taiwan militarily and economically devastated.
The war gaming was conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). CSIS said a Chinese invasion of Taiwan would require a massive amphibious assault of the island, and sustained access to reinforcements and resupply. Taiwan is located roughly 100 miles off the coast of China. The self-governing island is home to 24 million people.
According to the 24 simulations that ran during the war gaming, victory for Taiwan depends on four key things:
- Taiwan’s ground forces must contain Chinese beachheads.
- The U.S. needs to use its military bases in Japan for combat operations.
- The U.S. will need a massive stockpile of anti-ship cruise missiles in the region.
- Taiwan will need to be fully armed before the shooting starts.
The war games estimate China would suffer mightily if it tried to invade Taiwan. The report estimates the Chinese would lose 10,000 troops, and most of its navy’s ships and military aircraft would be destroyed.
In defense of Taiwan, the U.S. and Japan would likely lose dozens of ships, hundreds of aircraft and thousands of people. Even if China is defeated, the CSIS report said it could be a pyrrhic victory for the U.S. and Taiwan, meaning it came at too great a cost.
The CSIS report is unique since most war game results involving the U.S. and China aren’t made public. However, the CSIS cautioned that just because it war gamed a conflict in the Indo-Pacific region doesn’t mean there will be one.
On the contrary, the CSIS said the purpose of war gaming is to learn about possible outcomes, so the public is aware of them, and governments can prevent them from happening.