CSIS War Game Analysis Suggests High Costs for All Sides in Hypothetical Chinese Invasion of Taiwan

An analysis by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) using war games suggests how a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan could unfold and the significant costs involved for all parties. The unclassified simulation, based on a hypothetical scenario in 2026, involved turn-based strategy and assessed various outcomes. The war game concluded that while the US and its allies could potentially defend Taiwan’s autonomy, the victory would come with considerable economic damage to Taiwan, along with heavy losses for the US, its partners, and China, which could even threaten the stability of the Chinese Communist Party.

  • Both Chinese and Taiwanese militaries are preparing for a potential conflict that would likely involve the US.
  • China maintains that Taiwan is part of its territory and may use force for reunification; its military buildup intensifies these concerns.
  • The CSIS war game is an unclassified, turn-based strategy simulation that assesses a hypothetical Chinese amphibious invasion of Taiwan in 2026.
  • The war game involves two operational maps representing US/allied and Chinese forces, and a ground map for operations on Taiwan.
  • In the most likely scenario, Chinese forces land in southern Taiwan due to heavy military defenses in the north, near the capital.
  • The US focuses on attacking Chinese naval forces, while China escalates by striking US and Japanese bases.
  • After several turns and heavy casualties on both sides, the scenario ends with the Chinese forces unable to expand and suffering loss of their amphibious fleet.
  • The game suggests that while the US and allies could defend Taiwan, it would result in heavy economic damage to Taiwan and significant military losses for all involved.
  • Some war game scenarios did result in a US loss, particularly when US bases in Japan were not available.
  • The overarching takeaway is the high cost of conflict for Taiwan’s autonomy, affecting all parties significantly.

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