As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drags on into its fourth week, Moscow’s failure to subdue Ukrainian defenses — despite its superior military — has raised questions about what this could mean for China and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in terms of a potential invasion of democratic Taiwan.

Beijing, which regards self-ruled Taiwan as a breakaway province, has repeatedly vowed to reunite the island with the mainland. While Chinese President Xi Jinping would prefer to take control of the island without a fight, he has not ruled out the use of force.

In a speech in June 2021, Xi declared re-unification a “historic mission” of the Chinese Communist Party and warned that China would take “resolute action to utterly defeat any attempt” toward Taiwanese independence.