A US special operations unit and a Marine contingent have been secretly operating in Taiwan to train the army there, according to US officials, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. US forces have been deployed as part of efforts to shore up the island’s defences as concern about potential China’s aggression grows.
US troops including Marines are in Taiwan
According to WSJ report, about two dozen members of the United States’ special operations and support troops are training small units of ground forces in Taiwan. The United States Marine Corps is collaborating with local maritime forces on small-boat training. According to officials, American forces have been operating in Taiwan for at least a year.
On Monday, more than a dozen Chinese military planes flew into Taiwan’s air defence zone, the latest in a weekend of provocations that has seen nearly 150 warplanes since Friday as state media issued threats to Australia.
On Sunday, the US State Department issued a statement warning China against “provocative military activity,” calling it “destabilising.”
“The United States is very concerned by the People’s Republic of China’s provocative military activity near Taiwan, which is destabilizing, risks miscalculations, and undermines regional peace and stability,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
Taiwan’s defence minister claimed on Wednesday that China is capable now, but will be much more easily capable of launching a “full-scale invasion” by 2025.
The deployment of US special operations forces in Taiwan reflects the Pentagon’s concern about country’s tactical capabilities in light of China’s military buildup and recent threats and incursions against the island, the WSJ report published on Thursday stated.
Taiwan vs China issue
Beijing regards Taiwan as a Chinese province. Unification is a top priority for China’s leader, Xi Jinping, who has not ruled out a military takeover of Taiwan. Beijing considers Taiwan’s democratically elected government to be separatists, but the island’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, has stated that Taiwan is already a sovereign country and there is no need for it to declare independence.