On Monday, Taiwan’s Navy confirmed media reports that said a group of US Marines arrived on the island to participate in military exercises. According to Taiwanese media, it was the first time Taipei publicly acknowledged the presence of US troops in Taiwan since Washington severed diplomatic relations with the island in 1979.
While Taiwan’s military has regularly drilled with US Marines over the decades, publicly acknowledging the exercises is a shift in Taipei’s policy and a sign of the ever-warming relations between the island and the US.
“In order to maintain regional peace and stability, routine security cooperation and exchanges between the militaries of Taiwan and the United States are proceeding as usual,” the Taiwanese Navy said in a statement on its website.
A group of Marine Raiders, a special operations force in the US Marines, reportedly arrived in Taiwan on October 26th and quarantined themselves for two weeks, following military procedures for coronavirus. The Raiders started training Taiwan’s military on amphibious assault operations on Monday, and the exercises are expected to last four weeks.
The Trump administration has taken steps to increase ties with Taipei as a way to counter China in the region. The White House recently notified Congress of its intent to sell multiple weapons packages to Taipei. The administration has also increased ties on the diplomatic front, sending high-level US officials to visit the island.