American media reports that for at least a year now, US special forces have been rotating in Taiwan and training the local military to defend themselves against a possible attack by China. The Pentagon did not comment on these reports. In a statement, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the US authorities to abide by earlier agreements and to refrain from military support for Taiwan.
The US special task unit and the marines are responsible for training the Taiwan army to defend the island in the face of growing tensions in relations with the PRC, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing an official from the US administration.
“A small number of special forces soldiers train Taiwan’s forces on a rotational basis,” the Reuters agency reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with the case. The agency’s informants refused to provide information on how long Americans have been training Taiwanese troops. They suggested, however, that cooperation in this area had started before Joe Biden took power in the United States, i.e. before January this year.
The Pentagon, which has never disclosed the details of its training cooperation with Taiwan’s defense ministry before, has not commented on the reports. – I have no comment on the details of any operations or training, but I would like to point out that our support and defense alliance with Taiwan remains unmoved in the face of the current threat from the People’s Republic of China – said Pentagon spokesman John Supple.
The spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zhao Lijan, commented on the matter. He said the United States should cut off military relations with Taiwan and halt arms sales to Taipei to avoid deteriorating bilateral relations with Beijing. “The US side should understand how sensitive the Taiwan issue is,” said Lijan. “China will take all necessary steps to defend its country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
Last week, Chinese military aircraft flew nearly 150 flights near Taiwan’s borders. According to Taipei authorities, the air defense identification zone was breached by Shenyang J-16 and SU-30 fighters, Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft and nuclear-capable Xian H-6 bombers.
Chiu Kuo-cheng, Taiwan’s defense minister, warned on Wednesday that China would be able to launch a full-scale attack on the island by 2025, with minimal losses of its own.
Taiwan, which is formally referred to as the Republic of China, has been independent of mainland China since the split in the civil war in 1949.
Beijing considers Taiwan a rebellious “One China” province and has never ruled out the possibility of taking control of it by force.
Main photo source: RITCHIE B. TONGO / EPA / PAP