Mind the Gap: How China’s Civilian Shipping Could Enable a Taiwan Invasion

War on the Rocks – Recent months have seen much discussion of the “Davidson Window” — the idea that China could take military action against Taiwan in the next six to 10 years. Assessments of China’s amphibious sealift capability have typically focused on its navy’s dedicated amphibious assault ships, and have largely discounted the ability of China’s civilian merchant shipping to contribute to an invasion — especially in its initial stages. This approach does not take sufficient account of the emerging and ongoing integration of substantial portions of China’s merchant marine into its cross-strait assault forces. When civilian shipping is included in an assessment of China’s cross-strait sealift capability, Davidson’s warning gains added credibility.