The war in Ukraine is not a “distraction”. China is not going to use the “distraction” to invade either a) Australia or b) the USA. The very idea is so prodigiously stupid that anyone suggesting the idea with a straight face should never be taken seriously again.
China is even less likely to invade the West Coast than Japan was, and the historical records show that neither the Japanese Navy nor the Japanese Army ever even contemplated the notion beyond briefly looking at the possibility of invading Hawaii before concluding that they lacked a) the transport capability, b) the logistical capability, and c) the airpower to even bother putting together an actual warplan.
For crying out loud, the military strategists who pay attention to this sort of thing aren’t even sure China has the capability to successfully invade Taiwan island. They do, but the point is the mere fact the issue is even potentially in doubt renders the other hypothetical invasions very highly improbable.
To have any chance of conquering Taiwan, China might need to transport as many as two million troops across the rough 100 miles of the Taiwan Strait and land them under fire at the island’s 14 potential invasion beaches or 10 major ports.
That’s a lot of people—far, far more than the People’s Liberation Army Navy can haul in its 11 new amphibious ships. To transport the bulk of the invasion force, Beijing almost certainly would take up into naval service thousands of civilian ships.
To that end, the Chinese Communist Party has created a legal and bureaucratic framework for taking over control of commercial shipping. Meanwhile, naval engineers have begun modifying key vessels to make them better assault ships.
All that is to say, the vast flotilla that would be both the vehicle for China’s assault on Taiwan—and the biggest target of Taiwanese forces and their allies—is taking shape.
“If the PLA invasion force was a million or more men, then we might expect an armada of thousands or even tens of thousands of ships to deliver them, augmented by thousands of planes and helicopters,” Ian Easton, an analyst with the Project 2049 Institute in Virginia, wrote in a recent report.
The PLAN’s eight modern Type 071 landing docks and three Type 075 big-deck assault ships together can haul around 25,000 troops. A drop in the bucket. To transport the balance of the invasion force, the Chinese navy can take up around 2,000 large commercial vessels crewed by around 650,000 mariners.
The legal framework is a new one. On Jan. 1, 2017, China’s National Defense Transportation Law went into effect. “Among other things, the law mandated that all of China’s basic infrastructure and related transportation platforms would henceforth be treated as military-civil fusion assets,” Easton explained.
“At the CCP’s discretion, they were now legally required to be designed, built and managed to support future military operations. In the event of conflict, they would be pressed into wartime service. Now they had to prepare accordingly in peacetime.”
According to Easton, the roughly 1,000 large vessels belonging to China COSCO Shipping Corporation could comprise the backbone of this improvised fleet.
For what it’s worth, the USA doesn’t have the ability to invade China either, despite its air and naval superiority. Hence the loss of its sole superpower status even if nuclear weapons are left out of the equation.
This really isn’t that hard and requires nothing more than a modicum of military history and basic math. So please, just stop already.
If you want to worry about something that is a genuine threat to the USA and its European satrapies, worry about China one-upping Russia by exiting the neoliberal economic order voluntarily without waiting for sanctions.