Wu said Taiwan’s increasingly open policies have opened more channels for mainland Chinese tourists to visit the island for tourism, education, employment and commerce. More than 3 million tourists from mainland China visited Taiwan last year. This is a huge number which gives the PLA a great opportunity to deploy “undercover” troops to the island prior to an invasion, Wu said, as just 1% of this number is equivalent to two divisions of PLA ground forces.
Strategic and tactical surprises can be created since those “forward deployed” units would attack in the guise of non-combatants. They cannot bring arms with them but could obtain small arms through smuggling and local capture. Wu said Taiwan’s customs officials can only check a limited number of containers and other cargo in order to facilitate efficient trade.
Most military bases in Taiwan are defended by limited number of armed guards and contingent units in their fixed locations. Unless alerted, most military personnel inside those bases are unarmed at any given time. This will put the Republic of China Armed Forces in an inferior tactical position against those “fifth column.” With basic firepower, the infiltrators could paralyze the command chain and neutralize Taiwan’s air defense network before an airborne invasion, Wu said.
Full article: Chinese tourists could be PLA’s ‘fifth column’ against Taiwan (Want China Times)