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Taiwan-A Lesson from Ukraine

The Economist May 10th 2022 “What is Taiwan’s porcupine defense strategy?” “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine raises questions about how Taiwan could fend off China”

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Summary by 2244

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Fending off China for more than 70 years, Taiwan may now see the Ukraine invasion by Russia as an example of what might happen and how to succeed if China’s much larger military attacks. Consequently, debate has ratcheted up on the best strategy to stymie or repel China.

Little known to lay people, the so-called “porcupine method of defense” is being advocated by “American and Taiwanese” experts. In such a method, being David rather Goliath, there’s a focus on “agile and concealable weapons such as the portable Javelin and Stinger missiles that have proven so useful in Ukraine.” Such a strategy makes it “too painful” for an invader “to hold.”

In the past and even recently, Taiwan’s spending has been more about tools that will be less “useful in an actual war” namely, “expensive conventional equipment such as tanks, battleships, submarines, “upgrading fighter jets, tanks, helicopters” and “coastal-defense missiles.”

Lee Hsi-Ming, former chief of the Taiwanese armed forces, who introduced the porcupine defense AKA asymmetrical warfare, is quoted as saying “You are the smaller one. You must prioritized asymmetrical if you want to survive.”


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