Will China seize control of any Taiwanese-occupied feature in the South China Sea in the next six months?
This question is a metric for an issue campaign on the future of the DoD-Silicon Valley relationship. To learn more about this issue campaign and the relevance of this question, see the campaign's subpage and a related blog post.
Related questions. This same question—forecasting a six-month risk level—was previously published for the period August 2021 through March 2022. The final consensus forecast was 6%. We previously cross-posted a variation on this question with the UK Professional Head of Intelligence Assessment.
Context. Tensions between Taiwan and China have been particularly high. Although China had previously aimed for peaceful reunification with Taiwan, in May 2020, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang dropped the term “peaceful” from a speech, apparently reflecting shifting policies on the island. Throughout 2020 and 2021, China has stepped up activities in the East and South China Sea with some media reporting of an imminent invasion of Taiwan.
Taiwan-occupied features in the South China Sea appear to be the hot battleground. In its Annual Report to Congress, the the Office of the Secretary of Defense state that an invasion of Taiwan would be a “significant political and military risk” but “China could launch an invasion of small Taiwan-occupied islands in the South China Sea such as Pratas or Itu Aba." In August 2020, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducted military exercises off the Pratas islands to “simulate seizing the Pratas Islands."
Resolution details. The outcome of this question will be determined by reputable media reporting or official statements. Seizure involves an invasion, conquest, and control of a feature by Chinese military forces lasting more than 24 hours. The boundaries of the South China Sea are those established by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO), an international standards body. The question will resolve once control has been held for 24 hours, irrespective of how long that control is maintained after that period.
Question format. This question asks about the six month-period beginning with the following month. For example, a forecast made on August 17 is for September 2021 through February 2022. It rolls over on the first of every month, functionally becoming a new question. To learn more about our new rolling risk question formats, see this blog post.
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