Taiwan admits U.S. troops are stationed on islands close to the Chinese mainland

 Taiwan has officially confirmed the permanent presence of troops from the United States on Taiwanese-controlled islands off the coast of mainland China.

China has long been claiming democratically governed Taiwan as its territory, despite the strong objections of the island's people. Tensions over the status of Taiwan have skyrocketed in recent years, leaving Taipei with no choice but to respond to the consistent ramp-up of Chinese military activities near its territories. And one of its strategies is to seek help from its allies, particularly the United States.

In a statement, Taiwanese Minister of National Defense and retired general Chiu Kuo-cheng confirmed that the U.S. Army Special Forces, commonly known as the "Green Berets," are stationed at the bases of the Republic of China (ROC) Armed Forces' 101st Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion, known as the "Sea Dragon Frogmen" or just the "Frogmen."

The Frogmen is a special operations force of the ROC Army stationed in the outlying Taiwanese-governed island groups of Kinmen and Penghu. Kinmen is just three miles from the Chinese coastal city of Xiamen. The ROC Army has allowed the Green Berets to be permanently stationed at the Frogmen's bases to facilitate training programs for Taiwan's frontline defenders.

"This exchange is for mutual observation, to identify problems we have, figure out how to improve, and to recognize their strengths so we can learn from them. No matter the situation, there may be blind spots or shortcomings. So we need to communicate with our allies, whether it is a team, a group or a country. We can learn from each other to see what strengths we have. This is a fixed thing," Chiu explained.  

Shen Ming-Shih, acting deputy CEO of the Taiwanese military think tank Institute for National Defense and Security Research, confirmed the ministry's statement that American special forces are training entire companies of Taiwanese troops. Shen added that the training focuses on enhancing security measures to counter potential sabotage and infiltration.

"It makes the training more complete, which I think is very meaningful," said Shen.

Moreover, American military personnel are also providing specialized training on drone equipment for Taiwan's elite Airborne Special Service Company in the northeast city of Taoyuan.

Drew Thompson, a senior research fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, justified the running of training exercises so close to the Chinese mainland, noting that holding these military drills where the troops are stationed is more practical than relocating entire commands for political reasons.

"If you’re bringing in a training element, you want to train where the troops are rather than have to take the entire command and move it somewhere else for political expediency,” explained Thompson.

China: U.S. interference in Taiwan an attempt to escalate tensions in the region

The last time the U.S. had an official troop presence on Taiwan was in 1979, when the last American soldiers withdrew following the normalization of U.S.-China relations.

However, the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act commits the U.S. to providing Taiwan with defensive weaponry and aiding the island in its defense against external aggression.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Mart Meiners reaffirmed America's unwavering support for Taiwan in a statement to the Wall Street Journal.

"Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region," Meiners said.

In a separate statement, Communist Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lin Jian cited the U.S.'s interference in Taiwan as an attempt to escalate tensions in the region.

"Some people in the U.S. have been trying to hype up the China-threat narrative to escalate tensions across the strait and instigate confrontation. We firmly oppose that," Jian told reporters during a press briefing in Beijing.

Taiwan admits U.S. troops are stationed on islands close to the Chinese mainland Taiwan admits U.S. troops are stationed on islands close to the Chinese mainland Reviewed by Your Destination on March 28, 2024 Rating: 5

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