China’s ruler Xi has always made it clear that he wants to subjugate the “breakaway province” of Taiwan. Against this background, the war in Ukraine is very relevant for Beijing. Because the Kremlin supports the modernization of the Chinese army. And facing Taiwan has precise desires.

Beijing is keeping a close eye on how the Russian army is doing in Ukraine for a very special reason. Because the Kremlin actively supports the modernization of the People’s Liberation Army. According to a report by the “Institute for the Study of War”, Beijing wants support from Moscow above all in one: guerrilla warfare and house-to-house fighting. Here, according to the Chinese Communist Party, Russia has gained useful experience from its campaigns in Georgia and Crimea, whereas the Chinese army has not invaded and occupied any other country since occupying Tibet in the early 1500s.

According to Xi Jinping, this should change “in our lifetime”. This is how the ruler expresses himself when it comes to what he calls the “reunification” of the People’s Republic with Taiwan. The small island country off the coast has always been a thorn in Beijing’s side. It sees the island with its 23 million inhabitants as a “renegade province” that needs to be subjugated.

Control of Taiwan is also imperative to Xi’s larger plan to bring the entire western Pacific under Chinese control while driving Americans out of that region of the world. That is why the new knowledge about urban warfare and guerrilla warfare acquired by the Russian army should be applied there.

Putin’s invasion war against Ukraine, which violates international law, has often been compared to an upcoming war that Xi wants to launch against Taiwan. Beijing has learned two lessons from the Russian army’s disaster, which will be taken into account in its deliberations on when and how to invade Taiwan.

Yet that smile on Beijing’s face has frozen in the face of Ukrainians’ inspirational success. In Taiwan, whose population overwhelmingly sees itself as Taiwanese and not Chinese and who are proud of their democracy and freedom, they are more resolute than ever and are convinced that a victory for David against Goliath can also succeed on their island.

This changed situation due to the defeat that Russia, as of today and thank God, has caught in Ukraine, will not ultimately lead to a rethinking of Xi Jinping. All of China’s leaders before him have reaffirmed their claim to Taiwan, but have sought economic contacts that would have shackled dependence on the People’s Republic over time.

Xi’s threat and announcement of the use of force are new, but not without reason: due to the increasingly belligerent rhetoric in the face of massive investments in his army, China’s neighbors, from India to Australia, have started to buy more weapons and forge new alliances, from the best known of which is the Aukus alliance formed by the US, UK and Australia last year.

China’s military strategists know that with these arms purchases and with the training of their army by elite US units, the Taiwanese army will not be inferior to the Chinese military power for much longer. Therefore, Xi Jinping is in a great hurry. According to the US newspaper Forein Affairs, American military strategists assume that Xi will pursue a four-part strategy for taking Taiwan: first bombing military targets, then government buildings and infrastructure, and finally civilian facilities. At the same time, Taiwan is to be cut off from trade and the Internet.

Third, experts think an attack on US troops in Okinawa, Japan would occur. The fourth would then be the invasion, which would lead to urban warfare in the cities and guerrilla warfare in the mountains, since Taiwan will not surrender and capitulate.

The year 2027 is traded as the time for the invasion. By then Beijing wants to have completed the modernization of its army. The international community had sympathies for little Taiwan even before the Ukraine invasion. She, too, has learned from the Ukraine war and can quickly come to Taiwan’s aid. In addition, Japan and the USA are protective powers of the country.

In order to still avert an invasion and with it a military escalation of China with the USA, Putin and the Russian economy would have to be punished as much as possible after the end of the war so that China could see the high price it would have to pay for its annexation of Taiwan. Here another crucial parallel between the two settings, Ukraine and Taiwan, emerges. The fate of these places depends on how long Putin and Xi remain in command of their troops.