Will China invade Taiwan by the end of 2024?

Impressive, worrying analysis by @MatthewBarnett in a Facebook post.


1. What if China invades some of Taiwan's outer islands?

That doesn't count. It needs to be an invasion of mainland Taiwan.

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bought Ṁ1,000 NO

@SG This one excludes outer islands fyi

bought Ṁ20 NO

@Gen The Insight market, about the same price, also excludes the outer islands. https://insightprediction.com/m/282083/will-china-invade-taiwan-in-2024


The Facebook post linked was written in 2022, and the earliest it predicts China would even be ready is 2025. I don’t see a whole lot supporting something happening in the next six months.

bought Ṁ50 YES

October surprise.

predicts YES

Huh, Polymarket is at 12%. Look at those limit orders!

I think Polymarket is probably wrong, but I guess if Xi wanted to do this then striking right after the US election would potentially be a good time. Either Trump wins and Biden is a lame duck, or Biden wins and Trump is denying the election and stoking the fires of insurrection again. Either way the US is too divided to be as effective an ally for Taiwan as it would usually be.

@dreev what counts as Taiwan? This market about China seizing Taiwan's islands is at 10%, would that be an invasion?

@Joshua Do you have a recommendation on whether it should count? Probably not, based on market prices?

(It occurs to me that in a situation like this, removing ambiguity could be especially hard. China may explicitly aim to invade in way which retains some plausible deniability.)

PS: I just learned from the linked market about the Chinese salami slicing strategy. So, yeah, potentially bodes ill for my ability to fairly resolve this market. 😬


Well the Polymarket title is "Will China invade Taiwan in 2024?" and the description is:

This market will resolve to "Yes" if China commences a military offensive intended to establish control over any portion of Taiwan by December 31, 2024, 11:59 PM ET. Otherwise, this market will resolve to "No".

The resolution source for this market will be will be official confirmation by China, Taiwan, the United Nations, or any permanent member of the UN Security Council, however a consensus of credible reporting will also be used

I think that this is a good definition: "a military offensive intended to establish control over any portion of Taiwan."

I bought some yes shares when I posted that though, so I do have some bias. Up to you.

opened a Ṁ1,000 NO at 7% order

@dreev Also talking to other people and looking into it more, I'm not sure it makes that much a difference. These aren't uninhabited sandbars, they're significant parts of Taiwan. This market might not be too low, I think Polymarket is just too high.

@Joshua Ok, I'm happy saying they count unless anyone has a counterargument.

@dreev Most questions I've seen about China invading Taiwan refer to a full-scale invasion, and that is also how I understood this question when I bet on it. E.g. https://www.metaculus.com/questions/11112/us-response-if-china-invades-taiwan-2035/, https://manifold.markets/MarlonK/will-china-attempt-to-invade-taiwan

And the facebook post linked in the market description, which is the only thing besides the title to go off of, was talking about the dangers of full-scale invasion IIRC. Salami slicing has some risk of escalation but otherwise is not going to cause those sort of disastrous consequences.

@jack This sounds dispositive to me. Any counter-objections from you, @Joshua?

My opinion as a participant is that the fact the price was trading much lower shows that people thought they were betting excluding the outer islands (especially Kinmen and Matsu), but the description is ambiguous enough that @dreev is justified in now defining it either way.

I would suggest that in terms of geopolitics, this question shouldn't include those islands (invading Kinmen alone produces a dramatically different and lesser set of consequences to invading the main island of Taiwan) and in terms of geography it's debatable (Kinmen and Matsu are meaningfully a part of the ROC, and when people say "Taiwan" they use it in ways that both include and exclude them).

@dreev I think think it's a tough call, and indeed that Metaculus question that says "full-scale invasion" is an important reference that a lot of people are thinking of for markets like this.

Honestly I don't think I know enough about the details to have a strong stance, especially if this ends up getting used as precedent for all the other markets that don't specify any invasion vs full scale invasion.

Josh Wilkes holds yes and Jack holds no, and they're both at the top of the China-Taiwan Potential Conflict leaderboard so if they both are thinking of a full-scale invasion then I think that's fair.

The Metaculus criteria are:

The sub-questions below will resolve as Yes if, at any point between January 1, 2022 to January 1 of the year in question, one or both of these two conditions are true:

  • The Associated Press and the New York Times both report that the People's Republic of China has launched a full-scale invasion of Taiwan.

  • At least 1,000 military personnel from the People's Liberation Army have been deployed to Taiwan for the purpose of putting the sovereignty of the main island under PRC rule

Does everyone think that's good to use, instead of the Polymarket criteria? Would we encourage these criteria being used for all the other unspecified China-Taiwan markets? Ideally we'd edit the titles to say "full-scale" as well, if that was the plan.

I just asked a Taiwanese person and he said if Kinmen was invaded he would consider Taiwan was invaded 😬

But I still think the best solution is just to define this question as relevant to Taiwan's main island.

@Joshua what I would note about those criteria is that they require China to land troops. My preference for invasion markets is that they trade on China trying to invade rather than successfully invading.

Of course, that's personal preference, and descriptions can clearly indicate these things

@JoshuaWilkes Notably the Metaculus question needs one of those two criteria, not both. So as long as the AP and the NYT report that they have "launched a full scale invasion", the Metaculus question resolves yes. The 1000 troops on the main island isn't required.

@Joshua Maybe the NYT would say that China has launched an invasion if they invade Kinmen!

Update: So far I've officially updated the description to say that the outer islands don't count. Anything else I should clarify? Or arguments that I should piggyback on Metaculus's criteria?

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