Measures against China’s ‘gray-zone’ tactics detailed

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  • By Wu Su-wei and Jonathan Chin / Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Ministry of National Defense has elaborated on the military’s countermeasures against China’s “gray-zone conflict” tactics in a comprehensive review of Taiwan’s defense strategy.

The ministry’s 2021 Quadrennial Defense Review, which was on Thursday delivered to the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee for review, highlights the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) increasing use of gray-zone conflict methods, including cognitive warfare, disinformation, and air and sea patrols.

The methods are employed by the PLA to exhaust Taiwan’s armed forces and morale, the ministry said.

Photo provided by the Coast Guard Administration via CNA

The PLA’s cognitive warfare strategy is based on the “three forms of warfare” concept, which refers to public opinion warfare, psychological warfare and legal warfare, which are conducted to create internal contradictions in Taiwan, the ministry said.

The ministry’s answer to cognitive warfare is the creation of rapid response mechanisms that use technology to counter disinformation, provide factual rebuttals across multiple media, stop public panic, and create counter-narratives with international partners, it said.

China has reorganized its forces to augment its cyberwarfare capabilities, and PLA cyberunits are deployed for intelligence gathering and for stealing military, industrial and commercial secrets, it said.

Another part of the PLA’s effort is directed toward identifying gaps in Taiwan’s cyberinfrastructure to exploit them, including attacking these targets during a war to paralyze the nation’s government, security forces and military, the ministry said.

The armed forces are to stop these threats by implementing information security mechanisms, increasing defensive capabilities and strengthening collaboration with cybersecurity agencies, it said.