When the People’s Republic of China decides to move on Taiwan, it is unlikely to move in such a way that the United States’ decision on intervention is clear. If China decides, at least initially, against a large-scale invasion of that island nation, it could instead choose to try to “win without a fight”. Beijing may do so by using its large state-controlled fishing fleet to cut off smaller islands controlled by Taipei from Taiwan itself just as the People’s Republic of China is now mobilizing fishing boats to expand Chinese-controlled seas to pressure the Japanese Senkaku and Whitson Reef claims. in the waters of the Philippines. Chinese state-owned fisheries companies – part of the so-called “maritime militia” – act as fronts for the intelligence of the People’s Liberation Army. Using their fleets to somehow operate between peace and conflict in the gray zone of contested control around Taiwan would allow Beijing to test whether the United States and its allies are willing to help defend the island’s independence without being seen as starting an open conflict.
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