Will China Take Taiwan by Force by 2027 or Sooner? Experts Comment on Invasion Scenarios

News Analysis In recent years, Beijing has threatened to take Taiwan by force, if necessary. Will a war soon break out in the Taiwan Strait? Experts and politicians from both countries recently shared their views on the issue. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) could occupy Taiwan in a week and is not afraid of fighting U.S. forces in the Taiwan Strait, Jin Canrong, a renowned Chinese professor from Renmin University’s School of International Studies and foreign policy adviser to Beijing, told Nikkei on Jan. 31. “It is very likely that the leadership will move toward armed unification by 2027, the 100th anniversary of the PLA’s founding,” Jin claimed. Since 1949, Taiwan and mainland China have been run by two different governments. In the past decades, the Chinese regime has claimed the island as its own, despite the fact that Taiwan is a de facto independent entity, with its own military, democratically-elected government, and constitution. Voices From Taiwan Yuan Hongbin, a Chinese novelist and a philosopher in exile, believes that Beijing will launch a war to unify Taiwan in 2024. He told The Epoch Times on Feb. 3 that the Chinese regime would put financial and political pressures on Taiwan to provoke it. Taiwanese scholars and politicians don’t believe that China can defeat Taiwan in a war, especially if allies and the United States help defend the island. “It’s not easy [to unify Taiwan by force]. There are a lot of factors that China should think about,” Lee Cheng-hsiu, a senior assistant research fellow at Taiwan’s National Policy Foundation, told The Epoch Times on Feb. 1. “Once Beijing launches the war, the international community will react.” “The situation is dynamic. The capacity of the attacker is changing; same as the defender. Taiwan is strengthening,” Su Tzu-yun, a senior analyst at the Taiwan-based Institute for National Defense and Security Research, told the publication on Feb. 1. Taiwan Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu told German media ZDF on Feb. 1, “We are very determined to defend our homeland.” Wu emphasized that Taiwan’s defense capabilities continue to improve because of support from the United States, which provides weapons and military training, as well as high-level intelligence sharing between the two countries. A People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force WZ-7 high-altitude reconnaissance drone is seen a day before the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, southern China’s Guangdong Province on Sept. 27, 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images) The Taiwanese experts believe that under the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) repressive rule, Chinese scholars and experts are under pressure to deliver a message that toes Beijing’s line, which includes armed unification of Taiwan. “The CCP regime will hold its 20th rubber-stamp legislature’s conference in the upcoming autumn. … [Jin] must be consistent with the CCP leaders and promote Beijing’s narrative that it will unify Taiwan by force,” Lee said. Su believes that the Taiwan Strait issue gives people a chance to choose between Taiwan’s democracy and the Chinese regime’s totalitarianism, rather than simply a question of unifying the two sides. “Seventy percent of Taiwanese choose democracy, according to recent polls,” he said. “Pro-China opinions reflect their arrogance and ignorance of the facts, which brings the real risk and danger to the region.” Su emphasized that allies and other countries that uphold democracy and freedom will support Taiwan. “Taiwan has military alliances with many countries. Once the Chinese regime launches a war, these countries won’t stand idly by.” Taiwan soldiers stand next to the domestically produced corvette class vessel Tuo Chiang (R) during a drill at the northern city of Keelung, Taiwan on Jan. 7, 2022. (Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images) Jin suggested that Taipei and Beijing should meet and discuss cooperation. But Su warned that the CCP is not to be trusted. “As early as in the 1920s, the CCP used the strategy of negotiating with [then China’s ruling party] KMT [Kuomintang], but behind the scenes it was fighting and cheating the KMT. Taiwan won’t be fooled by the CCP’s tricks anymore,” Su said. Invading Taiwan Is Risky Yuan doesn’t agree with Jin about the PLA’s capability in subduing Taiwanese forces, but he believes that Chinese leader Xi Jinping will nevertheless use force to unify Taiwan with the mainland in the near future, even though China may lose in a war. “It’s hard for the PLA to occupy a city, not to mention a big island. In 1989, hundreds of thousands of PLA soldiers spent almost one month suppressing the students’ protest and controlling Beijing,” Yuan said, in reference to the student-led pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square. “Based on my knowledge and understanding, Taiwan can organize three million civilians, and arm them within a short time. They will defend the island together with Taiwan military troops once PLA

Will China Take Taiwan by Force by 2027 or Sooner? Experts Comment on Invasion Scenarios

News Analysis

In recent years, Beijing has threatened to take Taiwan by force, if necessary. Will a war soon break out in the Taiwan Strait? Experts and politicians from both countries recently shared their views on the issue.

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) could occupy Taiwan in a week and is not afraid of fighting U.S. forces in the Taiwan Strait, Jin Canrong, a renowned Chinese professor from Renmin University’s School of International Studies and foreign policy adviser to Beijing, told Nikkei on Jan. 31.

“It is very likely that the leadership will move toward armed unification by 2027, the 100th anniversary of the PLA’s founding,” Jin claimed.

Since 1949, Taiwan and mainland China have been run by two different governments. In the past decades, the Chinese regime has claimed the island as its own, despite the fact that Taiwan is a de facto independent entity, with its own military, democratically-elected government, and constitution.

Voices From Taiwan

Yuan Hongbin, a Chinese novelist and a philosopher in exile, believes that Beijing will launch a war to unify Taiwan in 2024. He told The Epoch Times on Feb. 3 that the Chinese regime would put financial and political pressures on Taiwan to provoke it.

Taiwanese scholars and politicians don’t believe that China can defeat Taiwan in a war, especially if allies and the United States help defend the island.

“It’s not easy [to unify Taiwan by force]. There are a lot of factors that China should think about,” Lee Cheng-hsiu, a senior assistant research fellow at Taiwan’s National Policy Foundation, told The Epoch Times on Feb. 1. “Once Beijing launches the war, the international community will react.”

“The situation is dynamic. The capacity of the attacker is changing; same as the defender. Taiwan is strengthening,” Su Tzu-yun, a senior analyst at the Taiwan-based Institute for National Defense and Security Research, told the publication on Feb. 1.

Taiwan Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu told German media ZDF on Feb. 1, “We are very determined to defend our homeland.” Wu emphasized that Taiwan’s defense capabilities continue to improve because of support from the United States, which provides weapons and military training, as well as high-level intelligence sharing between the two countries.

Epoch Times Photo
A People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force WZ-7 high-altitude reconnaissance drone is seen a day before the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, southern China’s Guangdong Province on Sept. 27, 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images)

The Taiwanese experts believe that under the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) repressive rule, Chinese scholars and experts are under pressure to deliver a message that toes Beijing’s line, which includes armed unification of Taiwan.

“The CCP regime will hold its 20th rubber-stamp legislature’s conference in the upcoming autumn. … [Jin] must be consistent with the CCP leaders and promote Beijing’s narrative that it will unify Taiwan by force,” Lee said.

Su believes that the Taiwan Strait issue gives people a chance to choose between Taiwan’s democracy and the Chinese regime’s totalitarianism, rather than simply a question of unifying the two sides.

“Seventy percent of Taiwanese choose democracy, according to recent polls,” he said. “Pro-China opinions reflect their arrogance and ignorance of the facts, which brings the real risk and danger to the region.”

Su emphasized that allies and other countries that uphold democracy and freedom will support Taiwan. “Taiwan has military alliances with many countries. Once the Chinese regime launches a war, these countries won’t stand idly by.”

Epoch Times Photo
Taiwan soldiers stand next to the domestically produced corvette class vessel Tuo Chiang (R) during a drill at the northern city of Keelung, Taiwan on Jan. 7, 2022. (Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images)

Jin suggested that Taipei and Beijing should meet and discuss cooperation. But Su warned that the CCP is not to be trusted.

“As early as in the 1920s, the CCP used the strategy of negotiating with [then China’s ruling party] KMT [Kuomintang], but behind the scenes it was fighting and cheating the KMT. Taiwan won’t be fooled by the CCP’s tricks anymore,” Su said.

Invading Taiwan Is Risky

Yuan doesn’t agree with Jin about the PLA’s capability in subduing Taiwanese forces, but he believes that Chinese leader Xi Jinping will nevertheless use force to unify Taiwan with the mainland in the near future, even though China may lose in a war.

“It’s hard for the PLA to occupy a city, not to mention a big island. In 1989, hundreds of thousands of PLA soldiers spent almost one month suppressing the students’ protest and controlling Beijing,” Yuan said, in reference to the student-led pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.

“Based on my knowledge and understanding, Taiwan can organize three million civilians, and arm them within a short time. They will defend the island together with Taiwan military troops once PLA soldiers land there.”

“The Chinese regime’s diplomatic problems are growing. At the same time, China’s economy is in crisis and its politics isn’t as stable as it looks. The regime will face complete financial and political collapse soon. Before this collapse arrives, Xi will try to launch a war in the Taiwan Strait to shift the Chinese people’s focus away from domestic issues, which he thinks will save the CCP,” he said.

Yuan warned that once Xi launches a war, the Chinese people who are against the CCP’s totalitarian rule will stand up and fight for their freedom, which would lead to the regime’s collapse.

Epoch Times Photo
Map showing China, Taiwan, and the Taiwan Strait. (Image source: Central Intelligence Agency)

Zheng Yefu, a retired sociology professor from China’s prestigious Peking University, urged Beijing to get rid of the plan of unifying Taiwan by using force.

In an article published on overseas Chinese-language news platforms on Jan. 22, Zheng explained that a lot of Chinese citizens don’t want a war, but their voices can’t be heard because of Beijing’s censorship.

“The threat of using force [to unify Taiwan] will cause a war and the consequences will be catastrophic. … Once the war starts, China, Taiwan, and the United States will have no room to make concessions. … Once the nuclear-weapon states fight with each other, no power can stop them from using these weapons,” Zheng wrote.

Luo Ya contributed to this report. 


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Nicole Hao is a Washington-based reporter focused on China-related topics. Before joining the Epoch Media Group in July 2009, she worked as a global product manager for a railway business in Paris, France.