China can rapidly dominate Taiwan airspace: US leaked docs
The leaked intel documents reveal that Taiwanese top military officials don't trust the capabilities of their air defense systems.
Beijing is most likely to achieve massive air superiority quickly in the event of an attack on Taiwan, much faster than Russia's case in Ukraine, The Guardian reported on Sunday, citing a document of leaked US classified information.
Taipei's military commanders are not very confident that their air defense systems are able to “accurately detect missile launches” and believe that half their air force is not fully capable of being fully effective in a war with China.
According to the document, Taiwan has concerns over the island's probable inability to shelter their aircraft in time before becoming Chinese missile targets. Fears especially grow knowing that a China attack could be unpredictable as Beijing could use civilian cargo ships to hide military forces coming toward the island, as per the leaked intel.
The Taiwanese Defense Ministry responded to the report about doubting their anti-air system, by saying that the ministry “respects outside opinions about its military preparedness,” but its reaction to recent Chinese military drills showed officers were “absolutely capable, determined and confident."
Last week, China launched its 3-day drills dubbed "United Sharp Sword" where Chinese jets and warships reportedly simulated strikes on Taiwan on the second day of the military drills.
Taiwanese authorities condemned the military exercises, and the US said it is “monitoring Beijing’s actions closely.”
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) will rehearse the encirclement of the island and will run its drills until Monday, the Eastern Theater's Command said.
Chinese Foreign Minister Mao Ning said earlier that the expansion of US-Taiwan relations is “a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiqués.” The Minister added, "It seriously infringes upon China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and sends an egregiously wrong signal to the 'Taiwan independence' separatist forces. China firmly opposes and strongly condemns it."
Another leaked document revealed that Russia has exceeded previous estimations about its capabilities to turn social media into a tool of influence and to manipulate search engine rankings and has established greater success than expected.
Russia allegedly boosted its rhetoric on several issues including Ukraine using hundreds of thousands of bot accounts, but social media giants were only able to detect the accounts 1 percent of the time, said one of the US intel papers citing one of Moscow's online bot's operators.
“Google and Meta and others are trying to stop this, and Russia is trying to get better,” Thomas Rid, Professor of Strategic Studies and founder of Cybersecurity studies at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, told The Washington Post.
“The figure you are citing suggests that Russia is winning.”
Focus on China
On Sunday, during a meeting of G7's foreign ministers in Japan, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell stressed the need to maintain open communications with China, describing the Asian giant as a “partner, competitor, and systemic rival.” Which of the three relations the EU will amplify “will be determined by China’s behavior.”
Borrell also considered that three-day meetings must be focused on two main items: a united approach to China and Taiwan.
“Anything that happens in Taiwan strait will mean a lot to us,” he said.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also emphasized the importance of unity in addressing the Chinese issue. “As democracies, we are successful in systemic competition with autocratic forces when our partners and friends around the world have confidence in us," she said.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed on Saturday during a visit to the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, that the intelligence leaks – the biggest in the US in a decade – had not affected Washington’s relations with its allies.
“Based on conversations that I’ve had, I have not heard anything that would affect our cooperation with allies and partners,” Blinken said, adding that he had heard “appreciation” for the steps Washington has taken.