Global SITREP for Friday, 24 May 2024 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Friday, 24 May 2024

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Friday, 24 May 2024.

  1. ODDITIES OF CHINA’S DRILLS AROUND TAIWAN: China’s latest drills have two very unusual aspects.
  • First, the naming convention deviated from the normal adjective-noun-year format to have an English-letter serial modifier after the year. The translated name is Joint Sword 2024A, suggesting follow-on variants of the exercise. The year-modifier is even visible in Chinese-language products.
  • Second, there is a large information operations campaign coming from mainland China.
    • Xinhua, an openly state-run propaganda network, says, “If ‘Taiwan independence’ schemers are indulged in colluding with external forces to create chaos, it will bring the most dangerous change to the status quo across the Strait and the most severe damage to the prospects of peaceful reunification.”
    • The Global Times speculates, “there might be more exercises to come with code-names Joint Sword-2024B and Joint Sword-2024C should ‘Taiwan independence’ secessionists and external interference forces continue to make provocations.”
    • The Global Times editorial ended with a threat, “The PLA has a complete arsenal available to resolve the Taiwan question if prospects for peaceful reunification no longer exist.”

Why It Matters: It remains unlikely that China has decided to forego peaceful reunification. However, Taiwanese President Lai Chingte’s inaugural address potentially violated three of China’s six preconditions for non-peaceful reunification, any one of which is enough for China to initiate military action. Lai’s inaugural speech could be seen as an independence declaration since he mentioned Taiwan’s sovereignty eight times. It could also be “A major event that may cause Taiwan to secede from China” or could be taken as “The possibility of peaceful reunification completely lost.” The Global Times’ concluding threat suggests the Chinese are at least considering that peaceful reunification is no longer possible. While it remains unlikely that China is choosing to seize Taiwan immediately, there is a distinct possibility that China is prepared to escalate this drill into a blockade to coerce Taiwan into reunification. This will have vast implications, particularly as Taiwan revealed yesterday that they are prepared to destroy their own semiconductor industry. – J.V.

  • Global Rollup
    • The Philippines opened a Coast Guard observation outpost in its northernmost islands to gather information on the Chinese around Taiwan.
    • The USS Ronald Reagan and her strike group moved into the Philippine Sea yesterday. (Ostensibly, this was for a Replenishment-at-Sea, but the strike group is likely on station to observe the Chinese drills and respond if necessary. – J.V.)
    • Japan will participate in Joint Exercise Valiant Shield 2024 from 07 to 18 June as the first non-U.S. participant ever. Four thousand Japanese troops from across the Japanese Self-Defense Force will participate with thousands of U.S. troops around Japan, the Philippines, Hawaii, and Guam.
    • Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian government to prepare to confiscate assets owned by the U.S. and U.S. affiliated entities in retaliation for any seizure of Russian sovereign assets. 

THAT’S A WRAP: This does it for today’s edition. Thank you for reading. If you know folks who would also like to receive this email, would you please forward it to them? We appreciate you spreading the word. – M.S.

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