If China attacks Taiwan, will four wars start simultaneously?
“The Chinese military is likely to face four wars if it embarks on armed reunification of Taiwan”
This is the title of an article that has been circulating on Chinese social media recently, labeled as an analysis by a military expert. The author of the article is known as Dongfang Dienbing (his social media handle), who describes himself as the editor of a Chinese military magazine and a weapons expert who has been involved in defense education for more than 20 years, but it is unclear if the original article was written by him. However, with military tensions rising across the Taiwan Strait, the Taiwanese media has taken a keen interest in the piece, as similar stories have been circulating in slightly different versions across various internet outlets. In China, where social media is often banned if it goes too far against government policy, this story is being amplified rather than disappearing.
The Chinese Navy’s Liaoning aircraft carrier performs a shear maneuver.
The first battleground is the Taiwan Strait…”If an armed reunification attempt is made, all three countries will intervene”
The so-called “four-front theory” assesses the overwhelming superiority of the Chinese military compared to the current Taiwanese military. To capture the island would require a massive amphibious assault and naval battle, and the PLA’s amphibious capabilities and equipment, which have long been considered a weakness, have been greatly improved. In addition, last August’s show of force demonstrated that the PLA is capable of blockading the island and striking with long-range missiles. Therefore, the theory concludes that the PLA has no problem dealing with the Taiwanese military.
What China should be wary of, however, are “countries that might intervene in the war,” he notes. “For example, the United States, Japan, and South Korea are all likely to participate in this war in various forms,” the analysis says. For one thing, U.S. troops in Japan and South Korea could be mobilized, and given the U.S. behavior in Ukraine, even if the U.S. military doesn’t directly intervene in the war, it could provide weapons or economic support. “They could send their younger brothers out,” he concludes, noting that South Korea and Japan’s support for Taiwan is a possibility. “The PLA must be prepared to fight alongside multiple enemies.”
President Tsai Ing-wen at Taiwan’s annual military exercises
The second battlefield will be on the Korean Peninsula
“If the Chinese military launches an offensive in the Taiwan Strait, it is highly likely that a conflict will break out on the Korean Peninsula,” the Four Fronts Theory argues. In particular, “If there is a real conflict in the Taiwan Strait, either South Korea or North Korea may use this opportunity to try to resolve the Korean Peninsula issue by creating a conflict,” referring to the possibility of a war on the Korean Peninsula. “In the past, China fought on the Korean Peninsula to prevent the U.S. military from being stationed on China’s doorstep, and the same is true now.” In other words, if there is a conflict on the Korean Peninsula, the Chinese military will have no choice but to intervene again, as it did during the Korean War, and the thousands of tanks and combat vehicles deployed in Northeast China can quickly support North Korea.
The third battlefield is the South China Sea, the fourth is the Indo-China border
The Four Front Theory identifies the South China Sea as the third battlefield and the Indo-China border as the fourth. The first is the South China Sea, where several countries, including China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Brunei, are entangled in territorial disputes over the Nansha Islands (also known as the Spratlys). The South China Sea is not only rich in oil resources, but it is also a major maritime trade route, which has attracted countries to send troops and build bases on the islands. “If there is a conflict in the Taiwan Strait, other countries could use the opportunity to invade the islands (claimed by China),” says the Four Fronts Theory, which suggests that the United States, which has a strong focus on the South China Sea, could send aircraft carrier flyovers to distract the Chinese military and disrupt the armed reunification of Taiwan토토사이트.
Conceptual map of the South China Sea dispute on Chinese social media
The fourth battleground, the Indo-China border, is a “powder keg” that has already seen several military clashes. In 2020, soldiers from both sides fought with sticks and stones in the Galwan Valley region, killing 20 Indian soldiers and injuring or killing dozens of Chinese soldiers. The Four Fronts Theory argues that “India has always viewed China as its greatest rival,” and that “any conflict in the Taiwan Strait could be used to provoke India in border areas or threaten China’s maritime supply routes in the Indian Ocean.”
The conclusion of the Four Fronts Theory is…”a challenge that requires ample preparation”
The Four Fronts Theory has been reproduced in many different versions, and not all of them come to the same conclusions. They use slightly different terminology and language. However, they all have one thing in common. They at least acknowledge that the armed reunification of Taiwan is a difficult task: “The Chinese military must be cautious because it may have to fight four wars simultaneously in the east, west, south, and north, which would cause not only military difficulties but also huge socioeconomic losses.
In addition to Taiwan and the United States, the movements of South Korea, Japan, and India must be closely analyzed, and trends in Vietnam, the Philippines, and other countries involved in the South China Sea disputes must be checked. This requires a high level of intelligence collection and analysis. One article cites the classic story of the Three Kingdoms to illustrate the need to prepare well in advance. There is a story about the Wei and Wu dynasties attacking the Chou dynasty on five different paths, but Zhuge Liang was able to defeat the allied forces with ease due to his advanced preparation and tactics.
This is why the “four-front theory” has continued to spread in recent years without being blocked by China’s Internet security authorities. Some analysts believe that it appeals to both the hardliners who say, “Why can’t we just take a small island?” and the moderates who say, “Why do we have to go to war?