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US wargame reveals China will lose if it invades Taiwan, but allies will also suffer heavy losses

Military tensions between the US and China have escalated during the Xi-Biden presidencies

A US think-tank report on a war-game that visualised a conflict in 2026 between China, and an alliance of Taiwan, the United States and Japan, has concluded that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will fail to take over Taipei, despite heavy losses on both sides.

But the results of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) war-game In “The First Battle of the Next War: Wargaming a Chinese Invasion of Taiwan, “also showed that China would lose only if, unlike the Ukraine conflict, the US and the Japan got fully committed to waging a  war against Beijing. Besides, Taiwan too had to remain steadfast and not capitulate before the US and Japan entered the theatre of war. “If Taiwan surrenders before US forces can be brought to bear, the rest is futile,” the report said.

Earlier , the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States had  predicted that Beijing was striving to acquire capability for the military  takeover of Taiwan by 2026, opening the possibility of a war in that year, though nothing has been cast in stone.

The war-game had taken into account 24 possible scenarios, factoring historical data and operations research to map possible results.

The results of the war-game point out that in case a war broke out,  Chinese forces would quickly founder and lose about  22,000 personnel at sea and on the ground. Taiwan was expected to take a majority of the 30,000-plus Chinese survivors as prisoners of war.

The report also said that the casualties among the US and its allied forces would also be astounding.

The report said US forces would lose about 3,200 troops in three weeks of combat. This is about half the country’s death toll from 20 years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. The anticipated 140 losses per day would be four times more than the rate at the height of the Vietnam war. Besides, the US was expected to lose two aircraft carriers and 10 to 20 large surface combatants in most scenarios, the report added. “We are not arguing against defending Taiwan any more than we are arguing for defending Taiwan, but that the potential costs of such a defence need to be part of the debate,” said Matthew Cancian, one of the authors and a senior researcher at the US Naval War College, at the report launch on Monday.

On the political side, the war-game raised the possibility of the collapse of the Communist Party of China (CPC) once China was defeated. “Although the project did not explore what effects these losses might have on the Chinese political system, the (Communist Party of China) would be risking its hold on power,” the report observes.

Also Read: Why Nancy Pelosi’s visit has brought China’s annexation of Taiwan on the radar