Taiwan Straits Balance of Forces, 2023

From DoD’s 2023 report on PRC’s military and security developments.

The report states:


PLAA. The PLAA has increased its posture in the Eastern Theater Command and along the Taiwan Strait, providing the PLAA with enhanced firepower, mobility, and rapid strike capabilities. Significant reorganizations and amphibious assault training in recent years likely indicate that the Taiwan contingency is a high priority for the Army. Major PLAA contributions to a Taiwan invasion scenario likely include extensive amphibious, army aviation, and air assault operations.

The PLAA fields six amphibious combined arms brigades—four in the Eastern Theater Command (nearest Taiwan) and two in the Southern Theater Command. PLAA units continued amphibious assault training as a single service and with joint service counterparts in 2022. Training events refined the tactics of rapid loading, long-distance transport and beach assault under complicated sea situations, and logistic support capabilities. Press reports also claimed that the PLA extensively used sea, air, and ground UAS in support of the amphibious assault operation. PLAA amphibious brigades reportedly conduct realistic, large-scale amphibious operations that are almost certainly aimed at supporting a Taiwan invasion scenario.

PLAN. The PLAN is improving its anti-air, anti-surface, and ASW capabilities, further developing an at-sea nuclear deterrence, and introducing new multi-mission platforms capable of conducting diverse missions during peace and war and has increased its posture surrounding Taiwan since August 2022. New attack submarines and modern surface combatants with anti-air capabilities and fourth-generation naval aircraft entering the force are designed to achieve maritime superiority within the FIC as well as to deter and counter any potential third-party intervention in a Taiwan conflict.

The PRC’s amphibious fleet has in recent years focused on acquiring a modest number of ocean-going LPD and LHA ships. There is no indication the PRC is significantly expanding its number of tank landing ships (LSTs) and medium sized landing craft at this time. Although the PLAN has not invested in the large number of landing ships and medium landing craft that analysts believe the PLA would need for a large-scale assault on Taiwan, it is possible the PLA assesses it has sufficient amphibious capacity and has mitigated shortfalls through investment in other operational capabilities, such as civilian lift vessels and rotary-wing assets to address this gap. The PLA may also have confidence in the PRC’s shipbuilding industry’s massive capacity to produce the necessary ship-to-shore connectors relatively quickly.

PLAAF. The PLAAF has maintained a ready force posture for a variety of capabilities necessary in a Taiwan contingency. It has acquired a large number of advanced aircraft capable of conducting operations against Taiwan without requiring refueling, providing it with a significant capability to conduct air and ground-attack operations. A number of long-range air defense systems provide a strong layer of defense against attacks on key military installations or population centers on China’s mainland. The PRC’s development of support aircraft provides the PLAAF with improved ISR capability to support PLA operations. The PLAAF also has improved refueling capabilities, expanding its ability to operate further from China and increasing its ability to threaten third party intervention. Throughout 2022, Eastern Theater Command-based PLAAF units operated at higher levels than in previous years. Taiwan ADIZ incursions involved greater numbers of aircraft and were more frequent than in 2021, demonstrating the PLAAF’s improved ability to sustain pressure on Taiwan.

PLARF. The PLARF is prepared to conduct missile attacks against high-value targets, including Taiwan’s C2 facilities, air bases, and radar sites, in an attempt to degrade Taiwan’s defenses, neutralize Taiwan’s leadership, or break the public’s will to fight. As of 2023, the PLARF is increasing its presence along the Taiwan Strait with new missile brigades, possibly indicating an increasing number of deployed missiles.

I note that House Speaker Johnson’s plan for avoiding the government shutdown apparently omits funding for arms transfers to Taiwan (or Israel and Ukraine, for that matter). Biden had proposed $7.4 billion in aid for Taiwan and other Indo-Pacific countries.

I suppose some folks think the threat to Taiwan is overblown. I’m more with those who agree that the degree of aggressiveness associated with PRC actions merits urgent action to bolster an important ally (and producer of critical commodities like semiconductor chips). The need for speed likely added to the Administration’s recent use of drawdown authority, even as the weapons transfer competed with needs for Ukraine.




99 thoughts on “Taiwan Straits Balance of Forces, 2023

    1. Moses Herzog

      Well Reagan sure showed them in Grenada didn’t he?? The Grenada invasion was like watching two local police carting off the 120 pound homeless drunk trying to get a free meal at the Church. It took a whole lot of macho to go invade Grenada for no reason. Ronald Reagan?? Really?? If you want to mention a Republican at least reference one who could navigate himself to the White House bathrooms for crying out loud. Hell…… I’d take that bastard Stanley McChrystal Over chickenhawk army recruiter Reagan.

        1. Macroduck

          Lebanon was taken as a lesson in asymmetric warfare. Like Israel, the U.S. has a low tolerance for military deaths. Once the truck bombs went off at the Beirut barracks, Reagan pulled out.

          Fear is the natural response to confronting the U.S. military, but that fear has been partly overcome in asymmetric confrontations as a result of the U.S. withdrawal from Lebanon. The current boldness of Iran-backed militias in attacking U.S. facilities is an example of the lesson learned in Lebanon in 1983.

      1. 2slugbaits

        Moses Herzog I was hardly a Reagan fan, but 40 years ago Reagan and the GOP could never be accused of being isolationists. Two generations later that’s no longer true.

        1. Moses Herzog

          @ 2slugbaits
          I came on too strong there with the guns blaring in that comment, but the thought of Reagan brings out the worst in my personality. So I apologize. No one is going to tell me the Reaganites don’t form the core (to steal the English translation of a Chinese term) of the MAGA illiterates. It’s the same damned group and no one will tell me any different.

  1. JohnH

    “War game suggests Chinese invasion of Taiwan would fail at a huge cost to US, Chinese and Taiwanese militaries…Taiwan would be devastated.”

    Oh, goodie, a Pyrrhic victory. After DOD’s string of pointless and futile wars– Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Ukraine–now they have set their sights on China! Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

    And let’s not forget that the US deluded itself and we, the people at the beginning of each of all those previous military misadventures with a burst of braggadocio and exuberant optimism that victory would be quick and easy. Typical was when “Pentagon officials naively believed coalition troops would be greeted with “flowers on the end of rifles” when they invaded Iraq in 2003, the former head of the armed forces has told the Iraq Inquiry.” https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/6717529/Iraq-inquiry-Pentagon-was-convinced-Army-would-be-greeted-with-flowers-on-rifles.html

    Negotiations to avoid conflict are desperately needed, but unfortunately the US government is so dysfunctional that it is no longer agreement capable, as evidenced by the US’ blocking of several agreements to end the war in Ukraine.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      JohnH: Wargames were discussed in this post. You should remember. You commented on the post.

      Korea was pointless? So, we could have instead of a South Korean that is ranked 13th in size, we could have a South Korea like North Korea?

      1. JohnH

        You might be interested in the disposition of approximately 800 US military bases around the world, over 200 in East Asia alone. https://www.mintpressnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/backpage-11601.jpg

        The actual number may be even higher as not all data is published by the Pentagon.

        Meanwhile, China has 4.

        Who is threatening whom? In a recent Gallup poll, the US was identified as the greatest threat to world peace. Given recent developments in the Middle East and the US’ lack of interest in a cease fire, it will be interesting to see how the 2023 poll comes out.

        1. Ivan

          Military presence is not a threat in itself. It’s what you do with your military that can be threatening. US has not been building fake islands and making territorial claims on the waters of other countries. The only thing that US military may “threaten” is the aggressive expansionist imperialism of Xi’s regime – and that is a good thing.

    2. pgl

      “evidenced by the US’ blocking of several agreements to end the war in Ukraine.”

      This is a bald faced lie. Your other attempt to spin this garbage has been badly debunked. But little Jonny boy don’t care. Jonny boy gets fed his dog food only when he does Putin’s bidding.

      1. JohnH

        I already provided Ted Snider’s piece detailing the peace attempts blocked by the US: “Why Peace Talks, But No Peace?
        The U.S. has prevented earnest negotiations and prolonged the war in Ukraine.”

        Instead of just crying “liar” pgl should try to read and digest the information provided by world leaders who involved in the talks, people like former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, and former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

        Yet pgl, who is totally ignorant of what happened at those talks, expects us to believe him, not eye witnesses.

        1. pgl

          And we already told you why your Ted Snider is not exactly credible. Get over it Jonny boy – we are onto your lies and other bag of tricks.

        2. pgl

          Naftali Bennett?

          I provided you what he has really said and he is undermining your BS. Liars gotta lie but damn!

    3. pgl

      Did Jonny boy forget to read his own link again?

      Project on Government Oversight (POGO), sees an outright Chinese invasion of Taiwan as extremely unlikely. Such a military operation would immediately disrupt the imports and exports upon which the Chinese economy relies for its very survival, Grazier told CNN, and interrupting this trade risks the collapse of the Chinese economy in short order. China relies on imports of food and fuel to drive their economic engine, Grazier said, and they have little room to maneuver. “The Chinese are going to do everything they can in my estimation to avoid a military conflict with anybody,” Grazier said. To challenge the United States for global dominance, they’ll use industrial and economic power instead of military force.

      1. Ivan

        Yes you kind of wonder; is he too lazy to read those links or too stupid to understand them. Its one thing to desperately cling to your narratives, but at least he could cherry-pick his “sources” as those that actually peddle whatever he is trying to peddle.

        1. pgl

          Better still – Jonny boy is peddling “people like former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, and former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder.”

          Did he bother to read what we said the last time he mentioned this trio. Maybe he is too lazy to read and maybe he thinks repeating a lie over and over makes it true.

      2. Anonymous

        The new CJCS, General Charles Brown (F-16 pilot) agrees that PRC not likely to go to war over Taiwan.

        What gain conquering a cinder?

    4. 2slugbaits

      JohnH when “Pentagon officials naively believed coalition troops would be greeted with “flowers on the end of rifles” when they invaded Iraq in 2003

      While I personally opposed the Iraq war, the fact is that US troops were greeted with flowers and lots of love when they entered Baghdad in April 2003. It was only later that things fell apart because there was no “after-this-then-what” plan.

      1. pgl

        I opposed this war too. But Jonny boy has already admitted that he could not be bothered to do so when it happened.

      2. Ivan

        Yes, I still remember a prominent Iraq dissident saying that US would be welcomed and highly appreciated as long as they left within a couple of months.

    5. Macroduck

      Johnny is arguing that an invasion of Taiwan will be the fault of the U.S. just as he has argued that Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is the fault of the U.S. That’s utter nonsense.

      Johnny is really trying to obscure the facts because the facts don’t look good for the side he supports – the side of the aggressors.

      Wars start before they end. If there is to be a war in Taiwan, it will be started by China, just as the war in Ukraine was started by Russia – both times. Johnny is really just arguing that aggressors ought to be allowed to gain from their aggresion. Johnny is on the side if the aggressor in Ukraine, and he’s on the side ofthe likely aggressor in Taiwan.

      Johnny keeps claiming the U.S. blocked agreement in Ukraine. That’s pure Russian propaganda. The U.S. could force negotiations by denying aid to Ukraine, but has no leverage to prevent negotiation.

      1. pgl

        My read on what the US is doing is trying to deter a war. The formation of NATO was not to start a war with Russia but to deter Russian aggression. A simple concept for most but not little Jonny boy. He is paid by Putin to ignore the basic concept of deterrence.

        1. Macroduck

          The Long Telegram lives!


          Kennan’s Long Telegram, which became the basis for Western (NATO) strategy, was all about containment of aggression. Nothing in U.S./NATO strategy supported aggression against the Soviet Union or the East Bloc in general. Kennan’s argument was entirely based on the idea that the USSR wouldn’t be able to expand its influence if the West engaged in a coordinated effort to prevent expansion.

          When Johnny points to U.S. bases around the world and squawks “aggression”, he is repeating the old Soviet doublespeak that efforts to contain expansion are “aggression”, while Soviet aggression is “liberation”.

          China engages in the same doublespeak with regard to Tibet, Hong Kong, Manchuria, the East Turkistan Republics and any other non-Han culture. Taiwan is next, if China sees an opportunity.

  2. Macroduck

    Taiwan’s leaders surely have Tibet’s experience in mind while China threatens to invade yet another neighbor. That’s Tibet, by the way, not Xizang.

  3. Not Trampis

    China is far more integrated into the world economy than russia. It would suffer immensely if it invaded Taiwan

    1. pgl

      True. I decided to check with the 20-F of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) which seems to be JohnH’s favorite company:

      ‘Fabs 2, 3, 5, 8 and Fab 12 are located in Hsinchu Science Park. Fab 6, Fab 14, and Fab 18 are located in the Southern Taiwan Science Park. Fab 15 is located in Central Taiwan Science Park. Fab 11 is located in the Washington State, United States. Fab 10 is located in Shanghai, China and Fab 16 is located in Nanjing, China.’

      Of the 12 fabs (which are contract manufacturers) 9 are located in Taiwan, 2 in the PRC, and 1 in the US. It would be a shame if these fabs were destroyed.

      But I’m wondering if Jonny boy praises Xi on the hopes that he will give Jonny boy ownership of these fabs are the Chinese invasion. Of course given how little Jonny boy knows about this industry – letting Jonny boy ruin TSMC would lead to their demise.

      1. ltr

        I’m wondering if Jonny boy praises Xi on the hopes that he will give Jonny boy ownership of these fabs are the Chinese invasion….
        I’m wondering if Jonny boy praises Xi on the hopes that he will give Jonny boy ownership of these fabs are the Chinese invasion….
        I’m wondering if Jonny boy praises Xi on the hopes that he will give Jonny boy ownership of these fabs are the Chinese invasion….

        [ This is of course incendiary prejudice. Over and over and over. ]

        1. Ithaqua0

          Wow, you’ve really lost it with that comment. Snark =/= “incendiary prejudice”. Good grief, what a moron.

          1. pgl

            ltr hearts Jonny boy simply because Jonny boy hearts Xi. No credibility in her hollow protests. None at all.

          2. Ivan

            Yep she said it three times but forgot to clap her heels – so it doesn’t count.
            Yep she said it three times but forgot to clap her heels – so it doesn’t count.
            Yep she said it three times but forgot to clap her heels – so it doesn’t count.

            (this one counts)

      1. pgl

        I can’t get past the FT fire wall but I found this:


        (Yicai Global) Nov. 14 — Struggling Chinese retailer Suning.com, which bought an 80 percent stake in Carrefour’s China business in June 2019, is now at loggerheads with the French hypermarket chain over the purchase of the remaining 20 percent, although the exact nature of the dispute is not known. Market conditions have changed greatly since Suning’s subsidiary Suning International Group acquired the stake in Carrefour China, and the two parties are resolving their disagreement according to pre-agreed conflict resolution terms, Nanjing-based Suning said on Nov. 11. Neither company has responded yet to Yicai Global’s queries about the reasons for the dispute.

        After Suning bought the majority stake in Carrefour China, it was agreed that the company would not refuse to buy the remaining equity should Carrefour agree to sell it to Suning within a 90-day period starting two years after the acquisition date. And Suning would also be given the chance to make an offer in the 90-day period after the first 90-day period expired that Carrefour would not turn down. On April 28, Suning reached a purchase agreement with Essonne-based Carrefour for the remaining 20 percent stake. Unit Suning International had paid CNY204 million (USD28.7 million) as of Nov. 10 and parent firm Suning is backing the deal.

        Carrefour has started to ramp up its investment and business development in China recently. It penned deals worth CNY270 million (USD38.1 million) at the China International Import Expo that ended last week, a record high for the company. It is also participating in a large retail buyer alliance’s centralized purchasing group in Shanghai and has inked CNY18 million in procurement orders so far. Suning, though, is hemorrhaging cash. The troubled retailer, which was part of a CNY8.8 billion (USD1.2 billion) government-led bailout last July, racked up losses of CNY4.5 billion (USD621 million) in the first three quarters, although this was a narrowing of 40 percent from a year earlier, according to it latest earnings report. It logged revenue of CNY55.5 billion over the period. Suning’s financial crisis is largely due to overaggressive expansion, which includes the 80 percent stake in Carrefour China that set it back CNY4.8 billion (USD675.3 million), and the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic which greatly reduced footfall at its brick-and-mortar outlets. Suning’s share price [SHE: 002024] was trading flat at CNY2.04 (USD0.29) as of 12 noon China time today.

  4. Ivan

    If the last decade has demonstrated one thing it is that wars of conquest are extremely costly and hard to win. Effective weapons against armor and planes are small, cheap and relatively easy to smuggle past blockades or even under the noses of occupying forces. What used to be overwhelming force is a bit underwhelming these days. At the same time the actual value of the conquest has become almost exclusively political. Holding a hostile territory and/or rebuilding a conquered land is extremely expensive – whereas getting access to its valuables via trans-national corporations and trade is getting much easier. The huge waste of the past 50+ years of oil wars could have been avoided by developing alternative energy products rather than trying to secure oil from hostile regions. Substitution is also a thing at the national level. Imagine if Reagan had invested in a manhattan project for solar energy instead of tearing off the solar panels on the white house.

  5. pgl

    Senator Mark Warner on Face the Nation talking about our relationship with China. He claimed that China’s IP theft amounts to around $500 billion per year, which strikes me as an exaggeration. I could be wrong but does anyone know that figure was derived? After all, one would need Chinese sales using US owned IP and some reasonable royalty but Warner did not say where he got this number.

      1. pgl

        An interesting document from the FBI that opens with the claim that the annual cost is from $225 billion to $600 billion. But the FBI provided no description of how they came up with these figures.

        1. Bruce Hall`

          Some pieces of what is puzzling you:
          https://www.cbsnews.com/news/chinas-technology-theft-major-threat-fbi-head-warns-60-minutes/ (China’s gains; US losses)
          The United States and its allies vowed this week to do more to counter Chinese theft of technology, warning at an unusual gathering of intelligence leaders that Beijing’s espionage is increasingly trained not on the hulking federal buildings of Washington but the shiny office complexes of Silicon Valley.

          The intelligence chiefs sought to engage private industry in combating what one official called an “unprecedented threat” on Tuesday as they discussed how to better protect new technologies and help Western countries keep their edge over China.

          The choice of meeting venue — Stanford University, in Silicon Valley — was strategic. While Washington is often considered the key espionage battleground in the United States, F.B.I. officials estimate that more than half of Chinese espionage focused on stealing American technology takes place in the Bay Area.

          It was the first time the heads of the F.B.I. and Britain’s MI5 and their counterparts from Australia, Canada and New Zealand had gathered for a public discussion of intelligence threats. It was, in effect, a summit of the spy hunters, the counterintelligence agencies whose job it is to detect and stop efforts by China to steal allied secrets.

          “That unprecedented meeting is because we are dealing with another unprecedented threat,” said Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director. “There is no greater threat to innovation than the Chinese government.”

          The warnings come as the United States and China engage in an intense, and expanding, spy-versus-spy contest, and as U.S. officials say that China’s espionage efforts have reached across every facet of national security, diplomacy and advanced commercial technology in the United States and partner nations.

          The intelligence chiefs said they were making the case to private industry that the security interests of the West were aligned with their business interests. No one profits if China steals intellectual property, they argued.

          The spy chiefs said China is intensely interested in Western artificial intelligence, a technology that will allow countries to improve their intelligence collection and analysis and is set to be a driver of economic gains for years.

          Just before the spy chiefs met on Tuesday, the Biden administration announced that it was limiting the sale of advanced semiconductors to China, a restriction that could curb China’s development of artificial intelligence.

          At a news conference on Tuesday evening, Mr. Wray said China was stealing American technological know-how and then turning around and using the stolen knowledge to steal more.

          “They are using A.I. to improve their already massive hacking operations, in effect using our own technology against us,” Mr. Wray said.

          Ken McCallum, the director general of MI5, said that the number of investigations into Chinese espionage had risen substantially in Britain since 2018, and that China had increased the number of approaches it has made to potential informants there. The technologies China is trying to steal have potential to transform both economics and security, and China is undertaking an ambitious effort of large scale, he said.

          “If you are anywhere near the cutting edge of tech, you may not be interested in geopolitics, but geopolitics is interested in you,” Mr. McCallum said.

          The intelligence chiefs said China was using hacking, pressure on Chinese students, informants in Western companies and joint ventures with Western firms to try to steal critical technology.

          David Vigneault, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said Western companies needed to understand that China had “changed the rules of the game.” He said laws in China compelled its nationals anywhere in the world to provide information to Beijing’s intelligence services.

          “It means they have a way to coerce people here in our countries to essentially tell them, to give them the secrets,” Mr. Vigneault said.

          U.S. national security officials have said that preventing Beijing from imposing its rules on people overseas is a top priority. The United States is working to shut down illegal overseas police stations that the Justice Department says are used to monitor and intimidate dissidents.

          Mike Burgess, the director general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization, said China was exploiting the openness of the West, and the desire of Western universities to collaborate.

          “All nations spy, all nations seek secrets and all nations seek strategic advantage, but the behavior we are talking about here goes well beyond traditional espionage,” he said.

          A version of this article appears in print on Oct. 19, 2023, Section A, Page 17 of the New York edition with the headline: U.S. and Allies Warn Companies China’s Spies Are Targeting Them.

          1. pgl

            Uh Brucie – maybe you forgot what my question was? How did these guys come up with that $500 billion a year figure? So little Brucie posts all sorts of ad hoc stories none of which gets to my simple question. Same old Brucie – babbles a lot because he does not get the discussion.

          2. Bruce Hall

            Uh, pgl, you want a spreadsheet? Come on, man. You know the numbers were a guesstimate based on a number of factor, several of which I provide information about.

            Your efforts at being snarky are lame.

          3. Moses Herzog

            Oh Brucie, You’re a fun guy now. Come on. Really?? It seems like pgl “got your number” right a few times. Hahahahah, I like Menzie lets people express themselves, it makes the blog pretty fun. He could be “stuffy” about it, if he wanted. But he lets the comments fly. I tried to do the same with my students in China, 2001—2008 Seems like a got some sharp knife edges a few times, But I do not regret it. I like to think it helped thier cvreative impulses and independent thinking. I had to scare a few “state spies” outside the classroom doorway though–don’t you doubt it.

  6. pgl


    Russian real interest rates from 1995 to 2022. Mind you these are ex post not expected inflation rates. Ex post real rates have varied a lot and with the recent unexpected inflation in Russia were negative.

    Ex post real rates have averaged 5.17% even during periods where Russia is not aggressively trying to conquer another nation by a massive military operation. Now the Bank of Russia has accompanied this fiscal stimulus with tight money raising short term nominal rates to 15% to maintain the recent decline in inflation. The bank expects inflation to be 7%. Sounds reasonable to me.

    But NO according to Stupid Steve as he is manipulating some Taylor Rule that he does not understand to say that expected inflation must be 13% as real rates cannot be more than 2%. And that’s why he is Stupid Steve.

  7. ltr


    November 10, 2023

    Ninety percent clean energy: China’s Xizang advances towards a national clean energy base

    Southwest China’s Xizang Autonomous Region, leveraging its unique natural and geographical environment, has accelerated the building of a national clean energy base, contributing its efforts to the country’s commitment to peaking carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060, according to a white paper * issued by the State Council Information Office Friday….

    * https://news.cgtn.com/news/2023-11-10/Full-text-White-paper-on-CPC-policies-on-governance-of-Xizang-in-new-era-1oBYG5zbNTO/index.html **

    ** https://news.cgtn.com/news/files/CPCPoliciesontheGovernanceofXizangintheNewEraApproachandAchievements.pdf

    [edited for length – MDC]

  8. ltr


    November 11, 2023

    Xizang plateau pilot area a path to achieve high-quality development
    By Xu Wuda

    Development is the universal theme of our era. Since the peaceful liberation of Xizang Autonomous Region, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the diverse ethnic groups in Xizang have undergone historic transformation, addressing the absolute poverty issue that had loomed for hundreds and thousands of years, in just a few decades. The hallmark goal and baseline task of building a moderately prosperous comprehensive society along with the entire country has also been achieved. Xizang’s economy and society have shifted the focus from mere sustenance to quality, marking the commencement of a new voyage towards socialist modernization.

    The eradication of poverty, the improvement of people’s livelihoods, and the gradual realization of common prosperity are fundamental requirements of socialism and a pivotal mission of the CPC. The Qinghai-Xizang Plateau has nurtured Xizang’s complex and varied terrain, climate, and environment. It is troubled by a fragile ecological environment, scarce resources, land and water shortages, frequent natural disasters, and harsh living conditions. Xizang’s extreme poverty was primarily characterized by natural factors which contributed to high costs and formidable challenges in poverty alleviation.
    [edited for length – MDC]

  9. ltr


    August 4, 2014

    Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, India, Japan and Korea, 1977-2022

    (Percent change)


    August 4, 2014

    Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, India, Japan and Korea, 1977-2022

    (Indexed to 1977)


    August 4, 2014

    Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, India, Japan and Korea, 1992-2022

    (Percent change)


    August 4, 2014

    Real per capita Gross Domestic Product for China, India, Japan and Korea, 1992-2022

    (Indexed to 1992)

  10. pgl

    I’ve been a bit lazy not reporting on the price of Ural oil but it seems that it has fallen to less than $67 a barrel:


    Now part of the reason is that prices for Brent oil has fallen even though we were told by a certain someone that this price would soon exceed $100 a barrel.

    Another reason for the low Ural oil prices is that the pesky Brent Urals discount remains significant even though this certain someone keeps telling us those sanctions were worthless.

  11. David O'Rear

    There’s no denying that the PLA is far larger and better equipped than the ROC forces. But, many of the definitions – air assault brigades, for example – favor the PLA.

    Given the near-zero combat experience on both sides of the Straits, and the over-the-top challenges of crossing the Taiwan Strait (this ain’t Normandy or Inchon, friends!), equipment comparisons don’t seem appropriate.

    More, the last three tables might benefit from a “what if the US becomes involved” column.

    Then there’s the clueless approach: “Negotiations to avoid conflict are desperately needed …”
    Someone hasn’t been paying attention.

    1. pgl

      Jonny is as delusional as Princeton Stupid Steve. Maybe the two will calculate a price for Taiwan’s rulers to receive to sell out its citizens and merge with the Xi government. Trump would do it if he were still President.

      1. ltr

        Jonny is as delusional as Princeton Stupid Steve. Maybe the two will calculate a price for Taiwan’s rulers to receive to sell out its citizens and merge with the Xi government….
        Jonny is as delusional as Princeton Stupid Steve. Maybe the two will calculate a price for Taiwan’s rulers to receive to sell out its citizens and merge with the Xi government….
        Jonny is as delusional as Princeton Stupid Steve. Maybe the two will calculate a price for Taiwan’s rulers to receive to sell out its citizens and merge with the Xi government….

        [ This is of course incendiary prejudice. Over and over and over. ]

        1. Ithaqua

          If you can repeat your stupidity, I can repeat my response!

          Wow, you’ve really lost it with that comment. Snark =/= “incendiary prejudice”. Good grief, what a moron.
          Wow, you’ve really lost it with that comment. Snark =/= “incendiary prejudice”. Good grief, what a moron.
          Wow, you’ve really lost it with that comment. Snark =/= “incendiary prejudice”. Good grief, what a moron.

        2. pgl

          OMG – you really are pathetic. Defending Princeton Steve and little Jonny boy? Maybe you will be defending CoRev next.

        3. baffling

          it is ironic that while ltr claims incendiary prejudice she is defending a government that has incarcerated and killed millions in the uighur region of china. over and over and over. and invaded the kingdom of tibet. and threatens to invade the independent nation of taiwan. ltr, please stop being so racist with your comments.

        4. Steven Kopits

          Well, if the Chinese government offered to pay Taiwan, say, $500 billion / year to remain non-committal about its independence, I would think that a very good trade. The point is not whether Taiwan and China are eventually unified, but rather the terms under which that happens. Conquest is not a winning argument.

          The key to China’s unification with Taiwan is China making a better offer. That means better mainland governance — democracy — and general economic development. If the Taiwanese see that mainland China has something of value to offer, then unification becomes a topic for discussion. This is analogous to the situation in northern Ireland. The situation became manageable due to rapid economic development in the Republic and its general trend towards greater secularism.

          There is no need for China to be in a rush. The US is not going to tie an anchor to Taiwan and drag it away. Nor is Taiwan central to China’s self concept. Nor is anyone threatening China in a way which demands control of Taiwan. China can afford to do nothing for a generation or two and let events come its way.

          Rather, all the tensions emanate from Xi, who wants to re-instate the imperial system as a practical matter and who wants all property rights to derive from him personally. That’s a dead-end.

          Xi’s options are:

          1) start a war, with a good chance that it becomes a world war,
          2) initiate a transition to democracy, with him taking the George Washington role,
          3) withdraw China from the global community

          Xi’s implicit strategy has been Option 1, start a war, which is planned to be brief and without US intervention; take a hit for China’s reputation for a couple of years, and come out as top dog. Option 1a is this plus a pre-emptive strike on Guam, Midway and Hawaii and a wider invasion of Asia (the Japan Strategy). Mercifully (or at least hopefully, mercifully), the Ukraine war has demonstrated that such wars can be long, thankless and really not a lot of fun. It seems to have dampened Xi’s enthusiasm for conflict.

          Option 2 is a necessary transition to democracy. China can no longer progress without it. The economy is too complex, the population too well educated, and incomes for at least several hundreds of millions are now middle class. This is the next step for China. It is both ready for democracy and in need of it.

          Option 3 is to withdraw from the world and this has been Xi’s de facto strategy in the last couple of years. Kick foreigners and their businesses out, reduce Chinese interaction with the external world by limiting travel, education, information and money flows, and intimidate anyone wanting to visit or do business in China. We are now seeing the impact of these policies, with the Chinese economy beginning to struggle. This is turn is sending Xi to San Francisco to, forgive me, bend the knee to Biden. This is a bad idea, and had I been Xi’s adviser, I would have advised against it.

          I think it is a bad idea because it characterizes the relationship as one of power and hierarchy. Now, this is how Xi thinks, but defining the relationship in terms of relative power creates an implicit contest. If we define a relationship as top dog and bottom dog, and the sooner or later, the bottom dog will take another crack at the top dog.

          China should and can rightly think of itself as in the same class as the US, but it has to begin to shoulder some of the associated responsibilities of running the global system. It has to become more sophisticated, and this will not be possible without a turn to democracy. In any event, if China wants to rule the world, it can be done with only five words: “How can we help you?” Do it, and China will enjoy global leadership within a decade or two.

          1. pgl

            Another idiotic proposal dressed up as if it were economics. Damn Stevie – you really do not get people like Xi or Putin.

      1. ltr

        The US has no intentions to start a war. Xi does. And you defend this tyrant?
        The US has no intentions to start a war. Xi does. And you defend this tyrant?
        The US has no intentions to start a war. Xi does. And you defend this tyrant?

        [ This is of course incendiary prejudice. Over and over and over. ]

        1. pgl

          “This is of course incendiary prejudice. Over and over and over. ”

          We see a pattern here. A pathetic stupid pattern.

      2. Anonymous


        Do you think Biden will handle Xi as well as Deladier did Hitler in 1938?

        Is East China theater like Europe in 1938?

    1. Macroduck

      Benign! Woo Hoo!

      China enslaves Uyghurs, destroys much of the culture of Tibet, attempted to invade Japan (look up “Divine Wind”), invaded South Korea, and generally treats minority groups as criminal. There is nothing benign about China’s role in the world.

  12. ltr


    November 9, 2023

    VW and Stellantis Show the Script Has Flipped With China’s Carmakers
    Western automakers are paying up for minority stakes in Chinese EV companies to gain access to their technology.
    By Bloomberg News

    VW, Stellantis Pay Up for Chinese Tech

    Two recent deals between legacy auto giants and Chinese electric vehicle upstarts have upended the traditional flow of technology and know-how from west to east.

    In July, Volkswagen announced plans to spend $700 million on a 5% stake in China’s Xpeng. While the German automaker sells more cars in a day than nine-year-old Xpeng does every month, it’s losing ground in China, with local champion BYD dethroning VW as the top-selling car brand earlier this year. Volkswagen and Xpeng are planning at least two new VW-badged models for the market, with the first due to arrive in 2026.

    Late last month, Stellantis laid an even bigger bet. Shortly after shuttering its Jeep plant in the country, the company struck a $1.1 billion deal for a stake in Zhejiang Leapmotor, which ranks 36th in China’s EV market.

    The transaction is “a sign of how far behind global automakers have fallen in the EV race,” said Bill Russo, founder and chief executive officer of Shanghai-based advisory firm Automobility.

    Stellantis will emerge with a 21% stake in Leapmotor and two board seats. The companies also will set up a joint venture in which Stellantis will make and sell some Leapmotor cars outside China. More importantly, Stellantis will gain access to Leapmotor’s technology, including automated driving functions.

    Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said the tie-up filled a “white space” in its business model….

      1. Ivan

        A lot of corporations have come to realize that in order to get access to China they have to allow themselves to be robbed blind of their intellectual property

  13. Macroduck

    Off topic, gather round, ye forecasters of CPI –

    October is a tricky month for CPI health care services. October of 2020, 2021 and 2022 brought on sudden, persistent changes in the pace of rise for health care service prices:


    As I understand it, this is mostly the result of seasonal changes in insurance premia, but I’m not solid on that. Anyhow, as you can see from the picture, the direction of change varies, soseasonal factors don’t pick it up – swings bleed through the seasonal adjustment system.

    If you have fact-based feeling for which way the swing is likely to go, I’d be pleased to hear about it. Whatever happens, keep in mind that the swing tends to persist.

    Medical care services account for 6.653% of CPI, enough that a big, persistent swing can nudge headline and core inflation readings up or down at the single decimal point level.

    1. Macroduck

      Turns out, the method of calculating health insurance costs changes with the October report, with the aim of making it less wobbly:


      So ignore what I wrote, maybe.

      Do listen to or read the piece on how insurance costs are calculated. Turns out, insurance cimpanies’ retained earnings are the basis of the calculation. Heavy insurance use drives retained earnings, and the health insurance component of CPI, up. Reduced use drives both up. Covid caused a drag on use by scaring people away from health care facilities. A rebound in use followed, cutting into insurance retained earnings.

  14. Ithaqua

    That’s when corporate enrollment periods kick in, so premium changes, even ones that were planned earlier in the year, don’t really become effective until then.

  15. Macroduck

    Off topic, the Fed, financial conditions and the U.S. outlook: –

    I have not been a fan of the Fed’s policy behavior recently. I think theFed has more or less taken the “Yes Prime Minister” approach to decision making – “Something must be done. This is something. Therefore, we must do this.” (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politician%27s_syllogism).

    But it is so far pretty hard to argue with the results. The Fed didn’t lower inflation, but it also hasn’t yet killed off job growth. We had a bit of trouble with banks earlier this year, but that has so far not spilled over much.

    Here’s a little tour of financial conditions measures which show something interesting. They seem to show that financial conditions haven’t deteriorated all that much.

    Chicago Fed financial stress index:


    Chicago Fed financial risk sub-index


    OFR’s financial stress indices for the U.S., other developed economies, developing economies and the world:


    The Fed’s financial conditions impulse on growth index:


    Thus last index shows that the growth impulse from financial conditions was pretty restrictive earlier this year, but has improved, when considered on a one-year look back at conditions. A three-year look back suggests conditions remain tight.

    Anyhow, financial conditions measures aren’t particularly worrying, overall. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that financialconditions tend to lead the Fed, rather than the other way around, and financial conditions can deteriorate rapidly. So maybe the financial options measures are useful retrospectively, but don’t do much for forecasting ecomic performance. Maybe someone should look into that. I’m busy just now…

  16. Macroduck

    From Bloomberg’s November 8 “Odd Lots” podcast, starting one minute and 50 seconds in:

    Tracy Alloway: “Do you get tired of having to convince people that you do in fact, know how the Sahm rule actually works? The rule that’s named after you.”

    Claudia Sahm: “Yeah. Men are fascinating. It’s interesting … The people who try to explain to me that I have calculated it wrong and then get really not happy with me when I don’t agree with them …”

    OK, which one of you guys tried to mansplain the Sahm rule to Claudia?

    1. Moses Herzog

      I’d love to see this list of names who told Sahm she doesn’t know the math of her own rule. They may have told her her conclusions were wrong, in which case she might have to be hand held and offered a cookie.

      BTW, if we’re going by the NBER’s retroactive measures of recession, the Sahm rule is not always predictive. Don’t tell her that, or it’ll cost you a father-daughter style walk to get an ice cream cone to make it all better.

  17. Macroduck

    Great as she is, turns out Megan Rapinoe has an Achilles’ heel.

    Guess I’ll have to live on highlight reels now.

    1. baffling

      yeah, that bummed me out too. but the lesson learned is when it is time to retire, then retire. stringing it out only allows bad things to happen.
      i was a fan of hers even before she became a superstar. there were others on the field with more glory in the early days, but she always stood out with the way she played. her corner kicks were devastating, and what allowed so many others on the team to get the accolades for scoring goals. have always followed the women’s team closer than the mens. they are the real stars of us soccer, and have been for years.

      1. Moses Herzog

        Netanyahu flirted with donald trump. Sheldon Adelson has shacked up with donald trump. There’s more, shall I go down the laundry list?? If donald trump wins 2024, they will be remembered as the new version of Jewish Ghetto Police, or the “Kapo”.

        Get ready to take a bow for all your tribe when donald trump’s MAGA crew carts you off boys. The new Jewish slogan: “Never again, unless it’s not me, then I don’t care”

  18. Macroduck

    Way off topic here, but David Cameron is back. He has just been appointed as the UK’s Foreign Minister. This is the guy who hated the idea of Brexit, but called the referendum anyway, to preserve his own position. Oops! He got that wrong and the UK got Brexit, a reinvigorated Scottish separatist movement, a renewed Irish problem, widespread regret, inflation and dlower growth. The guy who stumbled into severing the UK’s most important foreign economic ties is now in charge of foreign policy. What a great idea!

    What has Cameron been doing in the interim? Glad you asked. He’s been working on behalf of a foreign government’s foreign interests:


    Presumably, he’ll give up beating the bushes for belt-and-road investment, but who knows? With his record, anything is possible.

    1. pgl

      JohnH was Cameron’s chief spokesperson when Cameron led the UK government. Yes Jonny boy repeated all of Cameron’s lies about how fiscal austerity was the right policy during a weak economy. After all, real wages rose in one year even though they had declined a whole lot in the earlier years.

    2. pgl

      ‘It is a multibillion-dollar plan to build a metropolis in the Indo-Pacific which critics fear may one day act as a Chinese military outpost. Now the vast Colombo Port City project has a new champion — former British Prime Minister David Cameron. Cameron has been enlisted to drum up foreign investment in the controversial Sri Lankan project, which is a major part of Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative — China’s global infrastructure strategy — and is billed as a Chinese-funded rival to Singapore and Dubai.’

  19. pgl

    Now we know who calculated the banks lost interest in that Trump fraud trial:


    Trump Org’s false financial statements cost banks $168M in interest: NY AG financial expert
    BY ELLA LEE – 11/01/23 1:23 PM ET
    The Trump Organization’s skewed financial statements may have cost banks more than $168 million in interest, according to an expert witness hired by the New York attorney general’s office. Michiel McCarty, chairman and CEO at the investment bank M.M. Dillon & Co., testified Wednesday to his “lost interest calculations” for banks that handed out loans to the Trump Organization. His calculations determined that across four Trump Organization assets, banks lost out on just over $168 million in interest. The assets — 40 Wall Street, Trump’s Chicago hotel, the Old Post Office-turned-hotel and Trump’s golf course in Doral, Fla. — each lost banks tens of millions of dollars in interest across nearly a decade, according to McCarty’s assessment.

    Looking at his spreadsheet, it seems the interest rate was almost 2% in the early years rising to just over 4% by 2019. Where these short-term or floating rate loans? It strikes me that the actual interest rates imply a really low credit spread. This expert seems to have assumed that the interest rate should have been 10%. That strikes me as a bit high. Are Trump’s lawyers too incompetent to hire their own expert?

    1. pgl

      Let me set up a simplified version of someone like Michiel McCarty might come up with that $168 million figure followed by how someone on the other side might credibly argue that this should be lower.

      It seems to be a 6 year period so take any annual additional interest rates and multiply by 6. Also assume we have $400 million in loans at an interest rate = 3%. If government bond rates at the time were 1.5%, the interest rate implies a 1.5% credit spread as if the DONALD convince the banks to assume a BBB credit rating. McCarty assumed a 10% interest rate as if the credit spread should be 8.5% as if the credit rating should be C. So we have additional interest = $28 million per year or $168 million in total.

      But wait – what if the credit rate should be BB- which would imply a 3.5% credit spread or an interest rate = 5% not 10%. Damages would come in at $8 million per year for a total of only $48 million.

      But hey – I am not going to work for Team Trump. Fine him. Fine him a lot!

  20. pgl

    Don Jr. told the Court that 40 Wall Street has 76 floors even though everyone here knows that the 70th floor is the top floor. More on the valuation:

    Donald Trump’s appraisers still can’t explain how his 40 Wall Street “doubled” in value from 2012 to 2015

    Cushman & Wakefield valued Donald Trump’s stake in 40 Wall Street at $220 million in 2012.
    Three years later, the real estate firm said the same stake had more than doubled in value, to $550 million.
    “Good question,” a firm lawyer told the AG, when asked to name another building that had doubled in value.

    Cushman had valued Trump’s lease in the 70-story skyscraper at 40 Wall Street at $220 million back in 2012, when Trump used it as collateral for a loan from Capital One Bank, the AG says.

    Three years later, the firm appraised Trump’s interest in the building at $550 million — more than doubling its value — when Trump successfully used it as collateral for a $160 million loan from Ladder Capital Finance, the AG alleges.

    “At our meeting on January 5, 2022, you asserted that this valuation increase resulted from an overall increase in the New York real estate market between 2012 and 2015,” Assistant Attorney General Austin Thompson wrote in the latest court filing.

    “We asked you if you could identify any other similarly situated buildings that more than doubled in value (which you acknowledged was a “good question”) and you promised to look into it,” Thompson asked the Cushman & Wakefield lawyer.

    “Eight weeks later, however, we have received no follow-through from Cushman on any of the factual questions it committed to answer at that meeting.”

    Cushman attributed most of the increase in appraised value to what it described as a hike in assumed rental rates in the building, the AG said.

    But “in June of 2015, the same month as the date of the Appraisal,” the rent roll for 40 Wall Street showed “rates 10 to 17 percent below the assumed market rate,” the filing said.

    James has said in previous court papers that Capitol’s own 2015 valuation of Trump’s stake in the building came in at $257 million. Ladder Capital handled the loan after Capitol declined to restructure the mortgage on the property, the AG has said.

  21. Macroduck

    Minnesota Supreme Court rules in the Trump disqualification case that:

    – Sure, Free Speech for People has standing to bring the suit.

    – Sure, the Court has authority to hear the case.

    – It’s too early to bring the case. A primary is an internal party matter, not subject to the Constitution. Trump may be disqualified from the general election. So Republicans are free to run the risk of having no presidential candidate on the Minnesota ballot.

    Free Speech for People hasa similar case before the Michigan Supreme Court on Thursday.

    1. Moses Herzog

      As long as you keep track of which KKK lodge trump is having his next Michigan rally at, we’ll let you off this time.

    1. Moses Herzog

      Nice find. Just let the car coast, no need to brake or hit the accelerator. Or if they wanna micromanage they could use some Fed balance sheet moves. I read someone suggest that and I thought it was a solid idea at this moment of time.

  22. pgl

    Zero inflation?



    The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) was unchanged in October on a seasonally
    adjusted basis, after increasing 0.4 percent in September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
    reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.2 percent before seasonal

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