U.S. think tank released the latest assessment concluding that a China-launched war against Taiwan in 2026 would end in failure and heavy PLA casualties, loss of two American aircraft carriers. Meanwhile, Taiwan will suffer 3,500 casualties and 26 Navy destroyers and frigates will be sunk.
The Taiwan Strait is in danger of war. China has recently launched a large-scale military exercise against Taiwan, which has worsened cross-Strait relations. U.S. think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies recently released its assessment of a Chinese military invasion of Taiwan in 2026, in which the U.S. and Japan would help defend the island nation. Its assessment showed that the PLA would be defeated.
Mark Cancian, Senior Advisor, CSIS: “Although Taiwan survived as an autonomous entity, in most scenarios, losses to the United States, Taiwan, Japan, and China were enormous.”
The war game revealed that PLA naval and amphibious forces would be destroyed with 10,000 soldiers killed, and lose 155 fighter jets and 138 naval ships. The U.S. would lose two aircraft carriers, suffer 3,200 casualties, and lose 10 to 20 naval vessels. Japan would lose more than 100 fighter planes and 26 warships. Taiwan's national military would suffer 3,500 casualties, and 26 naval destroyers and frigates would be sunk. Taiwan's economy would be hit hard as a result.
Wang Ting-yu, Legislator (DPP): “The war game assessment for our Western allies, in particular the United States, suggests that if they want Taiwan to have the capabilities to resist an armed invasion, then Taiwan must have the equipment and capabilities before the war.”
The assessment pointed out that after the war, America's global status may be damaged and its navy in a mess. Experts analyzed that the U.S. would fight using its island chains and use long-range anti-ship missiles to destroy PLA naval forces, resulting in heavy losses of naval forces on both sides.
Hsu Chih-hsiang, Assistant Researcher, Institute for National Defense and Security Research: “American and Japanese air and sea combat forces would suffer quite heavily from China's long-range weapons. Many of these two countries' fighter jets could be destroyed while under the concept of island chain defense, a large number of missiles will be deployed on the so-called first island chain. So for the Chinese navy, which lacks access to deep waters, once their ships leave port, they are actually within range of anti-ship missiles. So this can be a serious blockade of Chinese naval forces.”
The war game assessment proposed four conditions to defend Taiwan. The Taiwanese army must prevent the PLA from establishing a beachhead, the U.S. can fight from Japanese bases, the U.S. has enough long-range anti-ship missiles, and Taiwan receives assistance in fully arming itself before the war. Hsu pointed out that Taiwan cannot replicate the Ukrainian model. China may implement a naval and air blockade against Taiwan, so Taiwan must stockpile a large amount of ammunition and supplies. Taiwan should actively strive for the US$1 billion of defense equipment as authorized from the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act.