Articles like this is how wars start – incredibly wrong estimates of your enemy’s strength causing stupid mistakes of judgement.
How a war between China and Taiwan would actually go. Let’sClancychat!
Day 1. China has the airlift capacity to move about 3 brigades (1 division) across the Taiwan Strait, and can probably put its 3 marine brigades over the strait quickly as well. Those would land into the teeth of 5 Taiwanese heavily armed tank and mechanized brigades. The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (don’t ask) would also be trying to keep the skies over the strait clear. However, Taiwan’s Air Force of F-16s (and homemade equivalents) and Mirage 2000s, while cold-war era fighters, could at least contest the skies versus Chinese variants of Soviet-era MiG-21s and Su-27s. China has more modern planes (Su-30s and Su-37s purchased from Russia and their own J-20 stealth fighter) which would eventually win the day… until the US Air Force shows up. When and if that happens is an open question, but at least the first day would see fairly bloody skies (and air defense missiles on both sides having a field day).
Day 3. China has a beach head secured on the western coast, by the skin of their teeth; probably north of Taichung since it’s literally the only spot in western Taiwan that isn’t a massive urban area. The Taiwanese reserves are starting to show up, and the Chinese forces are massively outnumbered and outgunned. They haven’t been able to seize an airfield to fly troops or supplies in, even assuming the skies still aren’t contested.
And the US enters the war. The President, whomever it may be, announces that Taiwan’s independence is a vital national security interest of the United States and at Taiwan’s invitation, the US Navy and Air Force will secure the Taiwan Strait. The US 7th Fleet makes way from Japan (a journey that will take a few days), but the Air Force is on the scene immediately, and the skies very quickly are even MORE of a mess. Chinese planes quickly stay grounded, but the massive arrays of Chinese air defense artillery respond, and in return the USAF begins retaliatory strikes against batteries that fire at US planes. In laymen’s terms, America is already bombing mainland China, an escalation that never happened during the Korean War. And it’s only Day 3.
Day 4. The 7th Fleet is devastated by a massive barrage of hypersonic, though non-nuclear, IRBMs after they are spotted by China’s spy satellite system. The US start trying to take down the satellites, and China responds against the US’ far more numerous GPS and communication satellites. Meanwhile, the first US troops reach Taiwan and, combined with ever-growing Taiwanese ground forces, force the Chinese troops on Taiwan, hard-pressed and without any resupply since the initial landing, to surrender.
Day 5. China responds with an absolutely stupendous array of well over 2000 missile strikes against the island of Taiwan that, while still non-nuclear, reduce it to slag. US troops (along with everyone else on the island) suffer horrendous loss of life. The Chinese government sends word through India that if the US does not immediately withdraw from the area, China will strike at US bases throughout the region in a similar fashion. The US does not respond, preoccupied with the loss of the 7th fleet and much of the force on the ground in Taiwan, and mired in confusion over the loss of much of the US satellite network, frequent internet outages, and other attacks on poorly-defended US infrastructure.
Day 6. Chinese missiles land in Japan, Korea and Guam. In response, the US sets off a low-yield nuclear blast over the Chinese forces massed in Xiamen west of Taiwan. Convinced they are under a full nuclear attack, China launches its entire nuclear arsenal at the United States, which responds accordingly.
As a result of about 50 US cities and most of the Chinese mainland being reduced to nuclear ash, the resulting nuclear winter mercifully ends what remains of civilization over the next year or so.
This is why articles like this are dangerous.