According to a Guardian report, the US secretly has kept a small number of military trainers in Taiwan for at most a year. This is the latest indication of US-China rivalry.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that about two dozen soldiers from the US Special Forces and a small number of Marines are currently training Taiwanese forces. Although the trainers were initially sent to Taiwan by the former President Donald Trump’s administration, their presence has not been reported until now.
This report was issued as President Tsai-Ing-wen stated Friday that Taiwan would “do whatever it takes” to protect its freedoms and democratic way of living.
She stated that Taiwan does not want military confrontation at a Taipei security forum. It hopes for peaceful, stable and predictable coexistence with its neighbors. Taiwan will do everything necessary to protect its democracy and freedom. Since 1979, when Washington established diplomatic relations to China, US troops have not been stationed permanently on the island.
John Supple, a Pentagon spokesperson, declined to comment on the report but said that “our support for Taiwan and defense relationship with Taiwan remain aligned against current threats” from China.
Jacob Stokes, a Fellow of the Indo-Pacific security program of the Centre for a New American Security, stated that “it is an important step but not to be provocative” but instead improve Taiwan’s defense capability.
“There is always a balance between symbolism, substance, and I believe that if you do it quietly it will have more substance.”