Amid heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing, US officials revealed to The Wall Street Journal that a US special operations unit and a contingent of Marines have been operating in Taiwan to train Taipei’s military for at least a year.
The unnamed US officials said there are about two dozen special operations soldiers advising Taiwan’s ground forces, and the Marines are working with the island’s maritime forces for small boat training. A US military official confirmed the report with Politico and said US forces are increasing their efforts in Taiwan.
While the US presence in Taiwan is unofficial, it’s no secret that US troops have been deploying to the island. In June 2020, the US Army released an official video that showed Green Berets training in Taiwan.
In November 2020, Taiwan’s Navy confirmed that a group of US Marines was deployed to the island for military exercises. According to Taiwanese media reports at the time, US troops had deployed to Taiwan for training missions before, but this was the first time such deployments were confirmed by Taipei since the US severed diplomatic relations with the island in 1979. The Pentagon later denied the reports, and then Taiwan walked back its statement on the Marines.
The Journal report comes as the US and Taiwan are hyping up Chinese military flights in an area Taipei claims as its air defense identification zone (ADIZ). Since September 2020, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry has been reporting when Chinese warplanes entered the ADIZ, and the highest number of Chinese warplanes entering the space was recorded Monday.
Despite how it’s portrayed in Western media, an ADIZ is not a country’s airspace, and the Chinese warplanes typically pass through the southwest corner of the ADIZ, far from the island of Taiwan. But Beijing understands the media buzz these flights will create, and they are likely meant to send a message to the US and Taiwan.
The US has slammed China’s flights as “provocative,” but they are clearly a reaction to the significant uptick in US military activity in the region. Since 2020, the US has stepped up passages through the Taiwan Strait, maneuvers near Chinese claimed islands, and frequently sends aircraft carriers into the sensitive waters.
Arguably more provocative to China than the US military activity are Washington’s steps to boost diplomatic ties with Taipei. President Biden continued the efforts of the Trump administration to increase informal relations with Taiwan by loosening restrictions on contacts between US and Taiwanese officials. In April, Biden sent an unofficial delegation to the island, followed by a visit from a group of US Senators who arrived in Taiwan aboard a military aircraft.
27 thoughts on “Report: US Troops Have Been Deployed to Taiwan For at Least a Year”
This is how the US edged into the Vietnam War.
One more step on this path, and the Chinese are likely to start shooting. This is very near their long-declared red line, and they have no reason to let it go as a bluff.
Agreed, this is very dangerous.
From what I understand, the Chinese have declared any US troops in Taiwan can only mean the US plans to help the island declare independence. That will never happen.
The CCP has repeatedly warned they will NEVER allow the US to deploy troops in Taiwan for preparing a declaration of independence.
Any attempt to do so will force the mainland to retake the island.
“The CCP has repeatedly warned they will NEVER allow the US to deploy troops in Taiwan for preparing a declaration of independence.”
At the moment, the CCP doesn’t get to decide what to “allow” in Taiwan.
Is that you John Bolton? Or perhaps Mike Pompeo?
That is exactly the neocon attitude that has caused so many problems in recent decades.
The Chinese seem to be very close in realizing negotiating with the US is futile and force is the only language Americans understand.
John Bolton and Mike Pompeo presumably support the US regime selling arms to, providing training for, and even guaranteeing the defense of, the Taiwanese regime. I oppose all of those things. My “attitude” is exactly the opposite of neocon.
I was merely observing a simple reality: The CCP neither currently rules Taiwan nor has the power to decide what to “allow” with respect to it. It might try to seize that power, but it hasn’t seized that power yet. That’s just a fact. You don’t have to like the fact that it’s a fact. It’s a fact whether you like the fact that it’s a fact or not.
I think it’s going to stay like that – China doesn’t have the strength to invade Taiwan in the foreseeable future. It may be a ‘red line’ in US-China relations, but that doesn’t mean China would, or could, respond by invading the island.
Their responses could be to break of all diplomatic relations with America, and/or sanctioning or blockading Taiwan. Doing so would do more economic damage to China than it would to Taiwan, but it would be a matter of pride for China, so they would have to try. If they tried to forcefully blockage Taiwan, that could lead to naval battles with the USA, probably very costly to both sides
The PRC consumes 44% of Taiwan’s exports (up from 40% in 2019), and Taiwanese companies like Foxconn are large investors in the mainland. Trade and investment between the economies remains robust and growing. The PRC seems unlikely to blockade its own trade with the island. Far more Taiwanese jobs depend on trade with the mainland than on any U.S. military alliance.
Any “blockade” would target U.S. military resources. Battles with the U.S. Navy around Taiwan would be more costly to the U.S., but the U.S. loves squandering military resources far from home, and I don’t expect large-scale battles. This site today reports the damage of a U.S. submarine in the South China sea. The report provides opportunities for China to protest, but I don’t see any costs to China. China has ample opportunity to watch the U.S. bleed while increasing Taiwan’s economic integration with the mainland, the integration that counts ultimately.
Yes, blockading it’s own trade with Taiwan would make no economic sense, but then politics is often an expensive and destructive affair. The Chinese economy is much larger than the Taiwanese economy – mutual trade is much more important to Taiwan than it is to China. If Taiwan were to declare independence, merely confronting the USA would not be enough for China. Who would want to be the leader of China who started the disintegration of the country? No – they would have to try and bring Taiwan to its knees. I think that would mean a blockade.
Ok, so you believe mainland China has no power to allow or disallow anything regarding Taiwan?
So the following are all because Taiwan prefers it that way?:
1. Little more than a dozen of almost 200 countries recognize Taiwan as an independent country from China and do not have official embassies.
2. The United States does NOT recognize Taiwan as independent.
3. The United Nations does NOT recognize Taiwan.
4. Taiwan cannot participate in the Olympics independently.
5. Taiwan cannot host foreign troops or military bases. China forced the US to close all bases there in 1979.
So all that, in fact, is by Taiwan’s choice?
In fact, Taiwan is much closer to a suzerainty than a sovereign nation. That is a fact, like it or not.
Logic’s not your strong suit, is it?
Taiwan, and a number of other countries, do tiptoe around quite a bit trying to keep the CCP regime appeased so that it doesn’t seize the power to decide what it will “allow” Taiwan to do. That’s not the same thing as the CCP regime actually having the power to decided what it will “allow” Taiwan to do. If the CCP regime wants that power, it will have to get that power in one of two ways:
1) Negotiating Taiwan’s surrender to CCP rule; or
2) Invading and conquering Taiwan.
It may do one of those two things at some point. I hasn’t done either of them yet.
“Taiwan is much closer to a suzerainty than a sovereign nation”
True. But not a CCP suzerainty.
“Taiwan cannot host foreign troops or military bases.”
You’re commenting on the story “US Troops Have Been Deployed to Taiwan For at Least a Year.”
You are correct, we are discussing an article about US troop deployment in Taiwan.
Did you bother to wonder why this author wrote the article and why it is news worthy?
Because Taiwan is NOT allowed to host US troops!
It seems I am not the one struggling with logic.
Well, which is it — is Taiwan not allowed to host US troops, or is Taiwan hosting US troops? It can’t be both.
At the moment, the CCP doesn’t get to decide what Taiwan is allowed to do. That’s just a fact. That could change, but it hasn’t yet.
The CCP gets to decide whether Taiwan sells 44% of its exports to its current customers (on the mainland) without firing a shot, but I don’t see it happening.
By contrast, a few disproportionately influential Taiwanese politicians and their cronies benefit from taking tax dollars from the U.S. to buy or otherwise obtain U.S. weapons systems.
If the latter makes Taiwan a U.S. suzerainty, the former still looks like a stronger foothold to me.
Well, it can certainly be both. You would make a terrible detective if you think something disallowed is also impossible.
“This homicide was not murder because murder is not allowed.” -Detective Thomas Knapp
Haha, now I see why you joined the Marines.
Taiwan is hosting US troops.
And Beijing is doing nothing but whining about it.
QED, Beijing does not, at the moment, get to decide what’s “allowed” and what isn’t vis a vis Taiwan.
If it wants that power, it’s going to have to seize that power.
In my opinion the US regime is goading the CCP to do exactly that.
In the 1980s, DC decided to give the Soviet Union its own Vietnam in Afghanistan. Now, DC is trying to give China its own Afghanistan in Taiwan.
The US would probably put up exactly enough of a fight on Taiwan’s supposed behalf to lose a few surface vessels that it wants a budget to replace anyway, while setting back the PRC’s ambition to have a competitive blue water navy by a couple of decades. And it would probably take the opportunity to hit some key industrial targets on the mainland.
Then the US would stand aside as the PRC gave it exactly what it wanted — an excuse to become “semiconductor independent” with the loss of Taiwan’s chip foundries — while the PLA tied itself down for decades in a nasty, draining occupation. The main subsequent fallout would be the sanctioning, with military effect, of any Chinese maritime traffic to Africa, while the US leaned on African regimes to transfer rare earth concessions China could now no longer either exploit or defend, to the US.
Keep in mind that the the CCP hasn’t even been able to really absorb Tibet after 70 years of occupation — it’s reduced itself to whining like a toddler every time someone gives the Dalai Lama a friendly nod — and is already too brittle and threatened by diversity to just continue milking Hong Kong as a cash cow after being handed it on a silver platter, deciding instead to kill it like a golden goose. The CCP managed to save itself as a ruling oligarchy once, by renouncing socialism in favor of capitalism in all but name during Deng’s tenure, but its lifespan probably isn’t going to be more than a couple of decades longer than the USSR’s was. Especially if it takes the bait in Taiwan.
There is a difference between whining and warning. China is warning Taiwan and US meddlers.
Many people though China was “just whining” about Hong Kong until very recently.
Then China retook their city and it was the US and UK’s time to whine.
It will be the same with Taiwan. The US will huff and puff and China will call the bluff.
China’s navy is now larger than the US Navy and dwarfs the US presence off their own coast.
The US military would be crushed by China trying to defend Taiwan and there is no guarantee China would just let the US run home safe and sound without following.
The Beijing regime has been “warning US meddlers” about Taiwan for 70 years.
They’re certainly not going to shut up. The the first question, then, is when, if ever, they’re going to put up.
The US regime seems to be hoping that they do make a big move, and doing everything possible to bait and goad them into it as soon as possible. There’s probably a reason for that.
Unless it’s been closed, NSA has had a Field Station there for several decades, 70+ years. They would have all Service branches present.
Positioning human shields is a risky business.
To taunt, to tease, to antagonize
Let us never become weary of ill will
China has 30,000 miles of high speed rail. China is improving their infrastructure. They are expanding business with other countries, becoming the most powerful country in the world, without placing military bases in countries all over the world.
This country is sinking fast.
The whole world, not just China, sees the Empire acting out of desperation, its fabrications of Chinese perfidy growing daily more preposterous. Beset all round with blowback refugees from 200 yrs of colonial exploitation, climate disasters from 150 yrs of industrial/consumerist rapacity, madly intensifying internal class and race wars, generalized institutional corruption, and uncontrollable socio-economic and financial madness that sees its stored public wealth consumed in megalomaniacal military ventures, and its private capital fleeing its reach, …with no solutions the Empire is in panic mode, impelled to mindless brute behavior, roaring threats and striking muscular poses.
Likely China & Co. will continue to play the long game. It can afford to turn inward once again, perfect its institutions and infrastructure, develop its socio-cultural and intellectual capital, and cultivate good-will among the failed-states created by the West’s adolescent egomania. All while aware of and prepared for a dangerous eventuality from the global mad-man.
The long game is the Chinese way. We think in five year segments. China thinks in 100 year segments.
You are giving Americans FAR too much credit here.
Wall Street is all about this quarter and DC is all about this fiscal year and their next election.
CEOs and politicians here give no consideration to any future other than their own.
The saying in Britain is “A week is a long time in politics”
War is coming up for sure!
One empire on the way to sink,and another emperor hoping to rise,
Horrible degrading experience in Afghanistan while leaving humiliated,terrorist with pick up tracks, celebration,and Taiwan is obviously next possible humiliation getting more real by the day,so, genuine realistic question is this ;
IF NEW EMPEROR NOT SIEZE THIS PERFECT OPPORTUNITY THEN,WHEN ?
I am only the messenger.
Chinese “Intelligence” needs to perk up.
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