Days after the news hit of China’s show of force towards Taiwan, anonymous sources have revealed that the United States has not only had an ongoing presence in Taiwan but has been providing ongoing military training.
According to Reuters’ two anonymous sources, “Small numbers of U.S. special operations forces have been rotating into Taiwan on a temporary basis to train with Taiwanese forces.”
The tension between Taiwan and China is ongoing, as Taiwan claims independence from China that has been ignored. China believes that Taiwan is part of a “one-China” and expects the United States and other countries to side with them. Or at least stay out of their way.
China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has issued a warning, telling the United States to back off — or else.
“The U.S. side should fully recognize the great sensitivity of the Taiwan issue,” said Lijian. “China will take all necessary measures to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Especially since a 1979 agreement between the United States and China is still in place, the United States should have already ended all formal ties with Taiwan, including the termination of defense agreements and withdrawing forces.
American politicians are not without their caveats, as one Pentagon spokesperson pointed out that Congress passed the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act that allows the U.S. to assess Taiwan’s defense needs, including any threats posed by the People’s Republic of China. The United States has been providing arms to Taiwan since then.
Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the chair of its Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and Nonproliferation.
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Both claim they were unaware of the American troops’ presence.
Bera also noted that, “I think we have special operators and others there, and we have in the past, that are there training this military [and] working with them.”
Tillis said he’d like to see even more troops deployed. He said, “I’ve been on Senate Armed Services for six and a half years, and I can’t recall a single briefing. Obviously, anything that was in a classified setting I couldn’t share. But in general terms, no specific briefing on this.”