Over at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s blog, there’s a worthwhile report on analysis of Beijing’s Taiwan harassment by the think tank’s director, Peter Jennings. ASPI’s research is the gold standard when it comes to analysis of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) malign influence operations and foreign policy.
Jennings submitted testimony to the U.S. Economic and Security Review Commission last week, writing that the CCP’s incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone could well give way to a major crisis this year. From ASPI’s post on the testimony:
In a series of written responses to questions from the US–China Economic and Security Review Commission today, Jennings says he believes the CCP will continue to test the boundaries of international patience in its operations against Taiwan and in the first island chain until the US and its allies feel compelled to attempt to limit Beijing’s behaviour.
A failure of the US to respond would challenge its credibility as a security partner.
At any time, Chinese President Xi Jinping could reduce the rhetorical tone and limit the People’s Liberation Army’s military exercises and air incursions, Jennings says, but Xi stands to lose nothing if he keeps testing the limits.
‘This gives rise, in my view, to a possible major crisis on Taiwan or the East China Sea in 2021.’ Jennings says Beijing will have developed a menu of options to pressure concessions from Taipei related to its political autonomy. ‘This does not have to involve a PLA amphibious assault of Taiwan’s northern beaches, but it could involve maritime blockades, closing airspace, cyber assaults, missile launchings around (and over) Taiwan, use of fifth column assets inside Taiwan, use of PLA force in a range of deniable grey-zone activities and potentially seizing offshore territory—Quemoy and Matsu, Pratas, and Kinmen Islands. Beijing will continue to probe with military actions, test international reactions and probe again.’
Keep an eye on the CCP’s grey-zone warfare — and on ASPI’s research.