In his recent article, Michael Beckley argues that the military balance in East Asia has stabilized because “China's neighbors can check Chinese maritime expansion.”1 He argues that even Taiwan, the neighbor most imperiled by Chinese military power, can repel, perhaps singlehandedly, a Chinese invasion. We disagree for three reasons.

First, Beckley writes that “Taiwan probably would have some notice” of a Chinese invasion (p. 85). But if China concealed its intentions through deception, a core tenet of its doctrine, Taiwan could have little warning time to mobilize its reserves.2 China could, for example, stage a large-scale naval exercise in the Bohai Sea, or it could test a new weapons system on the mainland, shifting attention and intelligence assets away from the Taiwan Strait. China might also use an exercise to conceal its massing of men and matériel. And although Beckley suggests that Taiwanese spies would detect China's plans...

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