Small Armies Can Beat Big Ones With ‘New Thinking,’ Taiwan President Tells Troops

The Taiwanese leader says strategic positioning makes his island ‘indispensable’ for global security.
Small Armies Can Beat Big Ones With ‘New Thinking,’ Taiwan President Tells Troops
Taiwan's President Lai Ching-te delivers his inaugural speech after being sworn into office during the inauguration ceremony at the Presidential Office Building in Taipei on May 20, 2024. (Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty Images)
Aldgra Fredly

The size of an army doesn’t necessarily determine a country’s military strength, as proven by instances of smaller armies defeating larger opponents at various points in history, Taiwan’s president told his military leaders ahead of the island’s annual war games.

“In history, there are many cases where the few win out over the many, and there are countless ways to win over old-fashioned enemies with new thinking,” Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te said in a speech to officers at the Ching Chuan Kang Air Base in Taichung, Taiwan, on July 8.

Despite being a small island, Taiwan occupies a strategic position vital for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, rendering it “indispensable” for global security and prosperity, he said, according to a video released by his office.

“The pursuit of peace is the direction we have always adhered to,” the Taiwanese leader said. “But the peace we want is a ‘true peace’ that has a solid foundation and is built by our own strength.”

He made the remarks ahead of Taiwan’s annual war games, dubbed the Han Kuang exercise, scheduled for July 22–26. They are aimed at assessing Taiwan’s combat readiness for a possible invasion by the much larger forces of the Chinese regime.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which has never ruled Taiwan, considers the self-governed island to be a renegade province and has never ruled out the possibility of using force to control it.

37 Warplanes Spotted Around Taiwan

Chinese incursions into Taiwan have occurred almost daily as the CCP increases military pressure on the island. Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said on July 10 that 37 Chinese warplanes were spotted around the island.

Thirty-six of the warplanes crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait and entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. Taiwan’s military said the warplanes were conducting “air-sea joint training” with the Chinese aircraft carrier Shandong.

That occurred as Mr. Lai met with Raymond Greene, the new director of the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan. At the meeting, they pledged to deepen the U.S.–Taiwan economic and trade relations.

In May, the Chinese military conducted large-scale drills involving its army, navy, air force, and rocket force in the sea and airspace near the island, just days after Mr. Lai assumed office.

According to Taiwan’s military, 49 Chinese aircraft, 19 navy vessels, and seven coast guard ships were spotted in areas surrounding the island on May 23. Taiwan responded by deploying aircraft, navy vessels, and missile systems to monitor the Chinese military.

Dorothy Li contributed to this report.