How China could choke Taiwan
China is honing its ability to blockade Taiwan, the self-governing island that China claims as its own, giving Beijing the option of cutting Taiwan off in its campaign to take control of it. Using a series of maps and images, The Times explained why the island is at risk.
Taiwan’s geography leaves it vulnerable to a blockade. Its population, industry and ports are concentrated on its western flank, closest to China. China can send ships to prevent vessels from entering or leaving Taiwan’s ports, warplanes to dominate the skies, and try to disable undersea cables that carry about 90 percent of the data that connects Taiwan to the world.
While China likely still lacks the ability to quickly invade and seize Taiwan, it could try to impose a blockade to force the island into concessions. Even a limited blockade would threaten one of the world’s busiest trade routes.
Background: For decades, Beijing has had its sights set on Taiwan. It has built up its principal military force, the People’s Liberation Army with the goal of ultimately taking the island, if efforts to unify peacefully fail. It has developed the world’s largest navy, which now challenges American supremacy in the region.
Rising tensions: China’s military exercises this month were not a blockade. They were meant to intimidate Taiwan and the U.S. and normalize a military presence near Taiwan, raising the risk of conflict.
Source: The New York Times