DC for First Time Advertises It Has Troops Permanently Deployed to Territory It Recognizes as Part of China
Since 1979 the US proclaims there is one China with the government in Beijing
Editor’s note: 2020 was the first time the US publicly acknowledged it had some troops in Taiwan. Now they are comfortable publicly acknowledging that that has remained the case ever since, and that that deployment is therefore continuous and open-ended. US troops on Taiwan are not a new development but the willingness to advertise the presence and to advertise its permanent state is.
The U.S. has had troops in Taiwan training local forces to better defend themselves in case of attack by China for at least a year, according to a U.S. defense official, a development likely to further antagonize ties between Washington and Beijing.
The official, who asked not to be identified, confirmed an earlier report by the Wall Street Journal that more than two dozen American service members, including special forces, have been in Taiwan for more than a year. Some of the training has been with local maritime forces on small-boat training, according to the Journal.
U.S. and Taiwan have had a close military relationship for decades, mostly defined by the sale of billions of dollars worth of high-technology weaponry, including armed drones and F-16 jets. And while the presence of small numbers of U.S. forces on the island isn’t unprecedented, it hasn’t been publicized in the past.
“Activities such as this — for training purposes — have been going on for years,” said Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. “In the past, these activities have been kept under wraps. If they are now being made public deliberately, that’s new, and it will undoubtedly provoke a reaction from China.”
The news comes just a day after the White House announced a virtual meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping before the end of the year. That announcement came after six hours of meetings Wednesday between White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and a senior Chinese foreign policy adviser, Yang Jiechi, in Zurich.