Taiwan Confirms Presence of US Special Forces on Islands Near China’s Coast

The Kinmen Islands are just a few miles from the Chinese city of Xiamen

Taiwanese Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng confirmed on Thursday the presence of US Army Special Forces soldiers in Kinmen, a group of islands that are controlled by Taiwan but located just off the coast of mainland China.

Some parts of the Kinmen islands are just 2.5 miles away from the mainland Chinese city of Xiamen. The presence of US troops on the islands was first reported by Taiwanese media last month.

Chiu confirmed the highly provocative deployment when asked about a new report from the US outlet SOFREP that said US Green Berets have taken up “permanent positions” as military advisors in Kinmen. The US soldiers are also deployed in Penghu, a Taiwanese-controlled archipelago about 30 miles west of the main island of Taiwan and 70 miles east of mainland China.

Map showing the location of Kinmen

The SOFREP report said the US Green Berets were stationed at the Taiwanese Army’s amphibious command centers. The deployment was carried out under provisions in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, which called for the US to create a comprehensive training program for the Taiwanese military.

The new collaboration includes the US troops training Taiwanese forces on the Black Hornet Nano, a compact military drone. Chiu said the presence of the US Green Berets was a “learning opportunity” for Taiwan’s 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.

Author: Dave DeCamp

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