cover image: How China Could Quarantine Taiwan


How China Could Quarantine Taiwan

4 Jun 2024

As China ramps up pressure on Taiwan, one major step it could take is a law enforcement-led quarantine of the island. This report lays out China’s potential motivations for a quarantine and maps out two plausible scenarios of how it could conduct quarantine operations. The term “quarantine” is sometimes used interchangeably with “blockade.” However, this report differentiates the two, defining a quarantine as a law enforcement–led operation to control maritime or air traffic within a specific area. A blockade would be a military-led campaign to significantly curtail the flow of traffic into Taiwan. The purpose of a quarantine is not to completely seal Taiwan off from the world but to assert China’s control over Taiwan by setting the terms for traffic in and out of the island. A key goal is to compel countries and companies to comply with China’s terms. If foreign actors largely comply with the quarantine, it strengthens China’s narrative that it has control over Taiwan and undermines Taipei’s sovereignty claims.
china conflict taiwan defense wargaming


Bonny Lin, Brian Hart, Matthew P. Funaiole, Samantha Lu, Truly Tinsley

Published in
United States of America

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