A detachment of U.S. Special Operations and Marine Forces has been secretly training Taiwan’s military as China continues to ramp up its aggressive stance against the sovereign island nation.
For at least a year, the special forces units have been secretly working with Taiwan’s armed forces in an effort to shore up their defenses against China, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
Speaking to the publication, military officials said that over the last year, roughly two dozen members of U.S. Special Operations units and supporting troops have been conducting ground training while Marines have trained amphibious units.
Details of the secret cooperation between the U.S. and Taiwanese forces come only days after a record number of Chinese warplanes threatened to violate Taiwan’s air space, Rebel News reported. Around 150 fighter jets and bombers flew into the defense zone over a period of four days.
The Wall Street Journal reported:
The Chinese flights, while not entering the area Taiwan defines as its airspace, have been a reminder of the Communist Party’s view of Taiwan as a part of China. Beijing has vowed to take control of the island by force if necessary. Top U.S. military officials testified earlier this year that Beijing is likely to try to use force in its designs on Taiwan within the next six years. Other officials have said China’s timeline could be sooner than that.
Taiwan’s defense minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, warned Wednesday that China would be able to launch a full-scale attack on Taiwan with minimal losses by 2025.
Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said earlier this week that “Taiwan definitely needs to be on alert.”
“China is increasingly over the top,” he said, Fox News reported. “We must come together as one and strengthen ourselves, only then will countries that want to annex Taiwan not dare to easily resort to force.”
Under China’s One-China policy, to which the United States and the United Nations agree, Taiwan is not recognized as a sovereign nation. However, under agreements between the United States and China, China must abide by a peace that effectively prevents them from invading Taiwan by force.
Details of the U.S. deployment to Taiwan were not immediately acknowledged by the White House, which declined to comment on the matter. The Wall Street Journal reports that China’s foreign ministry said in a statement that it urged the United States to stick to prior agreements and stop all military aid to Taiwan.
“China will take all necessary steps to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the Chinese ministry said.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, current and former U.S. government officials, and military experts believe that deepening ties between the U.S. and Taiwan is better than simply selling Taiwan military equipment. The United States has sold Taiwan billions of dollars in military hardware over the past decade.