Marines, Particular Ops Troops Secretly Deploying to Taiwan Amid China Tensions, Report Says

U.S. particular operations forces and Marines have been deployed to Taiwan and secretly coaching its army for a minimum of a yr as China turns into more and more aggressive with its territorial declare on the island, The Wall Avenue Journal reported Thursday.

A few dozen particular operators and help troops are coaching small models of Taiwan’s floor forces, whereas a contingent of Marines is working with native maritime forces on small-boat coaching, in response to the report, which cited unnamed U.S. officers.

The information report got here amid a record-setting variety of Chinese language army flights across the island. The Individuals’s Liberation Army made a complete of 149 army flights over 4 days, together with 56 on Monday, The Related Press reported.

It additionally comes at a time of heightened U.S.-China tensions over points starting from commerce to human rights to COVID-19 and appears certain to additional stoke Beijing’s ire.

In an announcement to the Journal, the Chinese language international ministry stated the nation “will take all vital steps to guard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

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The Marine Corps on Thursday directed inquiries to the Pentagon, which declined to remark instantly on the report when contacted by A spokesman did launch a normal assertion on the Pentagon’s place towards China and Taiwan.

“I haven’t got any feedback on particular operations, engagements, or coaching, however I want to spotlight that our help for and protection relationship with Taiwan stays aligned towards the present menace posed by the Individuals’s Republic of China,” spokesman John Supple wrote in an e-mail assertion.

Supple stated the U.S. urges a peaceable decision to the tensions over Taiwan, an island democracy simply off the coast of the Chinese language mainland that signed a mutual protection pact with America in 1954. Beijing considers it a breakaway province and more and more has been asserting claims to the island regardless of tolerating some independence prior to now.

The International Instances, a Chinese language tabloid thought of to be a mouthpiece for the Communist Occasion, in August warned {that a} U.S. troop presence on Taiwan would lead China to “destroy and expel U.S. troops in Taiwan by army means, and on the similar time notice reunification by pressure.” The editorial was a response to a since-deleted tweet from Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, which incorrectly acknowledged 30,000 U.S. troops had been stationed in Taiwan.

Beneath a decades-old coverage, the US maintains “strategic ambiguity” towards Taiwan, which means Washington doesn’t explicitly say it could come to the island’s protection in a battle with China.

The coverage is designed to keep away from frightening Beijing whereas additionally not emboldening Taiwan into formally declaring independence, a transfer that would result in a Chinese language invasion.

As a part of the “One China” coverage, the US additionally doesn’t formally have diplomatic relations with Taiwan. However U.S. ties with Taipei Metropolis, the capital of Taiwan, have deepened lately. Within the protection sphere, that has included billions of {dollars} in arms gross sales.

Protection officers even have issued more and more stark warnings about China’s designs towards Taiwan, together with Adm. John Aquilino, head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, telling lawmakers earlier this yr that the potential for a Chinese language invasion of Taiwan is “a lot nearer to us than most suppose.”

On Wednesday whereas arguing for a brand new arms spending bundle, Taiwan’s protection minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, additionally warned that army tensions with China are the worst in 40 years and that Beijing might have the ability to launch a “full-scale” invasion by 2025.

Throughout his affirmation listening to in Could, Christopher Maier, the assistant secretary of protection for particular operations, informed senators he believed Taiwan may benefit from particular operations coaching for irregular warfare, however didn’t point out such coaching was already being performed.

“I do suppose that’s one thing that we needs to be contemplating strongly as we take into consideration competitors throughout the span of various capabilities we will apply,” Maier stated.

— Rebecca Kheel may be reached at Comply with her on Twitter @reporterkheel.

–Travis Tritten may be reached at Comply with him on Twitter @Travis_Tritten.

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