US military advisors have been deployed to Kinmen, a group of small islands that are controlled by Taiwan but located just off the coast of mainland China, Taiwan’s TVBS has reported.
When asked to confirm the highly provocative deployment to Kinmen, the Pentagon said it could not comment. “We don’t have a comment on specific operations, engagements, or training” with Taiwan, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Marty Meiners told Antiwar.com in an email.
“But I would highlight that our support for, and defense relationship with, Taiwan remains aligned against the current threat posed by the People’s Republic of China. Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid,” Meiners said.
The US typically sends special operations forces, such as US Army Green Berets, to act as advisors in Taiwan. The TVBS report said the advisors were sent to Kinmen for “long-term stations” at the Taiwanese military’s “amphibious camps.” Advisors were also sent to Penghu, an archipelago about 30 miles west of the main island of Taiwan.
The report said the deployment fulfilled the US’s 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which called for the US to increase its training of Taiwan’s forces. The 2024 NDAA, which President Biden signed into law in December, required the Pentagon to establish a “comprehensive” training program for the Taiwanese military.
The US has significantly increased its military and diplomatic support for Taiwan in recent years, ratcheting up tensions with China. Last year, the US deployed around 200 troops to Taiwan, marking the largest known US military presence on the island since the US pulled its troops out after Washington severed diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979.
The US also recently began providing Taiwan with unprecedented military aid. Since 1979, the US has always sold weapons to Taiwan but never financed the purchases or provided arms free of charge until last year.
The new US support for Taiwan is being done in the name of deterrence, but China’s actions and rhetoric have made it clear the US steps are just making war more likely. This reality was put on display in August 2022 when then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) visited Taiwan despite repeated warnings from China. In response, the Chinese military launched its largest-ever military drills around the island.