A computer simulation projected that China could land forces on rival Taiwan, but they would be repulsed after two weeks of fierce fighting and harsh losses to both sides, Taiwan's military said Tuesday.
The complex simulation involved a scenario of China invading the island, 100 miles off its coast, in 2012.
Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949, but Beijing regards Taiwan as Chinese territory. The computer scenario was based on China's repeated threats to attack if Taiwan ever tries to formalize its de facto independence.
The military released its findings from the simulation to reporters on Tuesday.
In the simulation, Chinese ships ferry forces to the island, backed by heavy missile barrages and pinpoint air strikes on Taiwanese military bases and other strategic facilities.
The "invaders" establish beachheads along Taiwan's west coast, though their arrival is delayed for several days by Taiwanese missile strikes on mainland military bases, and by Taiwanese navy counterattacks.
The simulation has western Taiwan radar stations, missile bases and airports taking a heavy pounding, but ground forces hold down casualty numbers by taking cover in specially prepared areas.
After two weeks of fierce fighting, Taiwan's army corners and destroys the mainland Chinese invaders.
Taiwanese Lt. Gen. Hsu Tai-sheng said the simulation highlighted shortcomings in the island's military preparedness.
"The Chinese communists pose a severe threat to our naval vessels with their superior submarines," Hsu said. "And as their jet fighters far outnumber ours, we would suffer great damage to our air force."
He also said Taiwan's anti-missile and anti-submarine capabilities seemed hard-pressed to deal with the threats they face from China's continuing military buildup.
The computer simulation envisioned no role for the United States in the fighting, Hsu said, despite American hints that Washington would come to Taiwan's aid if China attacks.
While the U.S. transferred its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, it continues to supply Taiwan with the majority of its imported weaponry.
The self-governing, democratic island significantly boosted its air defense capability in the 1990s by acquiring French-made Mirage and U.S.-made F-16 fighters.
But Taiwan's plans to buy 66 relatively advanced F-16s were recently put on hold, partly because of Washington's pique over the opposition-controlled legislature's refusal to fund a $15 billion acquisition of U.S.-made submarines, submarine-hunting aircraft and Patriot missiles.