US forces training Taiwanese: official – 台北時報
US special operations forces have been quietly training Taiwanese soldiers for months, risking the ire of China, a US Department of Defense official said on Thursday.
A contingent of about 20 special operations and conventional forces has been conducting the training for less than a year, said the official, who declined to be identified, adding that some of the instructors rotate in and out.
The official largely confirmed a Wall Street Journal report that said a US special operations unit and a contingent of US Marines have been secretly training military forces in Taiwan to help shore up the nation’s defenses, as concerns mount over potential Chinese aggression.
In Taipei, the Ministry of National Defense yesterday declined to comment on the Wall Street Journal report, and the American Institute in Taiwan, the US’ de facto embassy in the nation, only referred to the US Department of Defense without commenting further.
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said “a just cause always attracts much support.”
“We are making every effort to defend our national sovereignty and our people, as well as maintaining regional peace. We are doing all we can and we appreciate like-minded countries working together,” he said.
Pentagon spokesman John Supple said that generally speaking, US support for Taiwan’s military is gauged on its defense needs.
Supple declined to comment on the specifics of the report, but said that the US’ support for Taiwan remains “strong, principled and bipartisan,” in line with the US’ “one China” policy and longstanding commitments, as stated in the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three Joint Communiques and the “six assurances.”
“Our support for and defense relationship with Taiwan remains aligned against the current threat posed by the People’s Republic of China,” Supple said in a statement.
“We urge Beijing to honor its commitment to the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait differences,” he added.
The US would continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues, consistent with the wishes and best interests of the people on both sides, he said.
In November last year, local media reported that US troops had arrived in the nation to train Taiwanese marines and special forces in small-boat and amphibious operations.
Those reports were subsequently denied by US and Taiwanese officials, who said that the two sides are only involved in bilateral military exchanges and cooperation.
The US supplies weapons to Taiwan, including missiles for defense and fighter jets, amid Beijing’s threat to forcibly annex the nation.
The US also maintains an ambiguous commitment to defend Taiwan.
Additional reporting by CNA and Lin Chia-nan
The US is capable of “tamping down” China in the event of an invasion of Taiwan, US Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said on Friday. The US remains committed to boosting Taiwan’s defensive capabilities, she told an online forum hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Asked about what the US would do should China attack Taiwan, Hicks said that Washington is watching the situation in the region carefully “day to day.” “We have a significant amount of capability forward in the region to tamp down any such potential,” Hicks said. “We have good relations, of course, with Taiwan. We
COMMITTEE FINDINGS: Most people approved of adding ‘Taiwan’ to the end of the name, which translates to ‘Chinese Academy’ in English Academia Sinica members are concerned the institution’s widely used Latin name might cause foreign researchers to mistakenly assume it is based in China, and it is deliberating a new name. The institution plans to raise the issue at the legislature today, sources said, adding that Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Fan Yun (范雲) had also brought the issue up with Academia Sinica President James Liao (廖俊智) during a meeting of the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee in March last year. Academia Sinica has sometimes been confused with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as its Latin name translates to “Chinese Academy” in English,
‘OVER THE TOP’: The US, Australia and Japan voiced concern over China’s increased air incursions, with the White House urging Beijing to halt its provocations Taiwan needs to be on alert for China’s “over the top” military activities, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday, after a record 56 Chinese aircraft flew into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone on Monday. Taiwan has reported 148 Chinese air force planes in the southern and southwestern part of its air defense zone over four days beginning on Friday, the same day China marked its National Day. The tensions are being viewed with increasing concern by the international community. Japan and Australia yesterday urged the two nations to talk, while the US said it has been “conveying clear messages” after what it
‘DAMAGING PEACE’: Calling the forays into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone ‘wanton,’ Su said the international community is increasingly renouncing the bullying Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday criticized China after 38 of its military aircraft crossed into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Friday, the most in a single day since Taiwan began issuing a tally on such incursions in September last year. On Friday evening, the Ministry of National Defense reported that 25 Chinese planes had crossed into the nation’s southeastern ADIZ, between Taiwan proper and the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Island, 東沙群島). It identified the planes as 18 J-16 fighter jets, four SU-30 fighters, two H-6 bombers and one Y-8 anti-submarine warfare plane. Late on Friday night, the ministry reported that 13