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Growing Tensions in the South China Sea

As Taiwan builds up its defenses against amphibious attack, the Pentagon confronts a challenging new military reality in the region and beyond.

In a recent conversation with Roundtable's Rob Nelson, Kris Osborn, editor of Warrior Maven, discussed the potential for conflict between China and Taiwan.

Osborn noted that there has been a recent uptick in warfare preparation drills involving the Chinese Navy, including fighter jet flyovers of Taiwanese airspace. Because Taiwan lies only a few hundred miles off the coast of China, Osborn says it’s within the combat radius of Chinese fighter jets, long-range ballistic weapons, and missiles.

“That’s part of why China has been putting a lot of emphasis on amphibious assault—fast-adding new amphibious assault vehicles," he said. "With air power, they’re also building a J-31, a fifth-generation stealth-like fighter to compete with the F-35 that’ll go off their carriers.” 

Osborn cited reports that Taiwan is acquiring tanks with the goal of slowing down beach assaults long enough for allies to arrive, but said the U.S. military response to such an attack remains uncertain. He pointed to a Pentagon report that postulates China could achieve world domination by 2049.

“Because of [China's] modernization and technological military sophistication, that might [arrive] earlier,” Osborn said.

Osborn says the Pentagon is taking these threats seriously and is scaling up surveillance as tensions grow with Taiwan and others in the region. For more, read the full-length article at Warrior Maven.

Watch the full interview: