China sees de jure independence for Taiwan as a prime national security threat, and Chinese military policies have long been characterized as primarily intended to prepare for contingencies involving Taiwan.
Since the end of the Cold War, the PLA has been internalizing and applying lessons of contemporary warfare, in particular from what it believes is an ongoing revolution in military affairs. In considering the threat of Taiwan independence, the PLA is especially taken with the notion that coercive aerospace power can be utilized up and down the escalation ladder of conflict – from the low rungs of peacetime intimidation and coercion, all the way up the ladder to a punishing aerospace campaign against key Taiwan military and civilian assets. Such a strategy would be combined with political, psychological, and other operations – certainly including electronic/information/cyber warfare.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) seeks to constrain Taiwan’s interactions with the outside world, while compelling its leaders to abide by Chinese strictures and influencing them to conclude that arms procurement is a futile activity in the face of an overwhelmingly lethal PLA. The PRC seeks to likewise convince outside partners that offering security assistance to Taiwan is futile.