China Pushes Back After Taiwan Confirms Presence of US Troops

Beijing's Foreign Ministry said the US should abide by one-China principle

On Thursday, called on Washington to abide by the “one-China principle” in response to Taiwan’s president confirming the presence of US troops on the island that are training Taipei’s military.

“The one-China principle is the political foundation of China-US relations,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin. “On the Taiwan question, the US should abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, rather than unilaterally concoct anything.”

The three joint communiqués refer to a series of agreements made between the US and China between 1972 and 1982 while the two countries were establishing relations.

In 1979, Washington formally recognized Beijing as the sole government of China and severed diplomatic ties with Taipei. Under the 1982 communiqué, the US said it would gradually reduce arms sales to Taiwan, but instead, the weapons deals have steadily increased over the years.

Besides selling arms to Taiwan, the US has deployed small numbers of troops for training purposes. These deployments are not a secret, but this week marked the first time that a Taiwanese leader acknowledged the presence of US forces on the island since 1979. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen also said that she has “faith” the US would intervene if China invades Taiwan.

A former instructor for China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) told The South China Morning Post that Tsai’s admission was a serious “provocation” aimed at Beijing. “By revealing the US troops’ presence in Taiwan, Tsai is saying that Taiwan has the backing of the US so the PLA should not act rashly. This is a serious political and military provocation,” said Song Zhongping.

Wang said the US military presence in the region sends the “wrong signals” to Taiwan’s independence forces. “We firmly oppose official and military ties in any form between the US and the Taiwan region, and oppose the US’s interference in China’s internal affairs,” he said.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.