Mainland China may be expanding “gray-zone warfare” on Taiwan, Taiwanese media has suggested as a second Chinese man in five days reaches the self-ruling island on a rubber dinghy.
A veteran military commentator in Taiwan disagrees. The journalist, Qi Leyi, says that the two dinghies crossing the Taiwan Strait are unlikely to have come from the People’s Liberation Army of China as the sea journeys are too risky and not cost-effective.
Taiwanese officials on Thursday announced that they had captured a mainland Chinese man surnamed Jiang, after he rowed a rubber boat to Kinmen, a group of islands in the strait under Taiwan’s jurisdiction.
Just days earlier, another Chinese, surnamed Zhou, also successfully traversed the 180 kilometers (110 miles) between Taiwan and the mainland and claimed that he was seeking “freedom and equality.”
Qi found Zhou’s professed intention suspicious. “Mainland China is a very liberal society if you keep away from politics,” he said, cautioning that Taiwanese authorities had yet to confirm whether the two men were part of Beijing’s warfare.
A YouTube channel host known only as Larry said that China could be engaging in gray-zone warfare to test the coastal defense of Taiwan.
Such warfare makes use of unconventional or unusual force or tactics that do not cross the threshold for war, and can be an excuse to gauge the bottom line of the opponent. The entity being targeted would find it difficult to decide how to respond, and if it made the wrong judgment, a battle might break out.
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