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Dupe, as this is already posted in the China Threatens to Invade Taiwan thread, but this is HUGE and needs visibility. The Chinese are going to be pissed, and this may just be the catalyst for them to take action. This is all the buzz right now, as we await the Chinese response.
This needs to be on main as an alert. This is huge. The Chinese are going to be pissed, and this may be the catalyst.WSJ News Exclusive | U.S. Troops Have Been Deployed in Taiwan for at Least a Year
WASHINGTON—A U.S. special-operations unit and a contingent of Marines have been secretly operating in Taiwan to train military forces there, U.S. officials said, part of efforts to shore up the island’s defenses as concern regarding potential Chinese aggression mounts.
About two dozen members of U.S. special-operations and support troops are conducting training for small units of Taiwan’s ground forces, the officials said. The U.S. Marines are working with local maritime forces on small-boat training. The American forces have been operating in Taiwan for at least a year, the officials said.
The U.S. special-operations deployment is a sign of concern within the Pentagon over Taiwan’s tactical capabilities in light of Beijing’s yearslong military buildup and recent threatening moves against the island.
Taiwan and U.S. officials have expressed alarm over nearly 150 flights near Taiwan in the past week by Chinese military aircraft. The Chinese aircraft have included J-16 jet fighters, H-6 strategic bombers and Y-8 submarine-spotting aircraft and have set a record for such sorties, according to the Taiwan government.
The Chinese flights, while not entering the area Taiwan defines as its airspace, have been a reminder of the Communist Party’s view of Taiwan as a part of China. Beijing has vowed to take control of the island by force if necessary. Top U.S. military officials testified earlier this year that Beijing is likely to try to use force in its designs on Taiwan within the next six years. Other officials have said China’s timeline could be sooner than that.
Taiwan’s defense minister, Chiu Kuo-cheng, warned Wednesday that China would be able to launch a full-scale attack on Taiwan with minimal losses by 2025.
Fears of Chinese Move on Taiwan Weigh on U.S.-China Relations
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Fears of Chinese Move on Taiwan Weigh on U.S.-China Relations
Taiwan and China have had an unstable coexistence for more than seven decades, and concerns are rising that China might move against Taiwan to force a unification. WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib explains some of the causes for worry. Photo illustration: Laura Kammermann
White House and Pentagon officials declined to comment on the deployment of the U.S. military force. There was no immediate response to requests for comment from Taipei. The deployment is rotational, the U.S. officials said, meaning that members of the U.S. units serve on a variable schedule.
China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it urged the U.S. to adhere to prior agreements and to cease military aid to Taiwan. “China will take all necessary steps to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it said.
Asian media reports last year suggesting a possible U.S. Marine deployment in Taiwan were never confirmed by U.S. officials. The presence of U.S. special operations forces hasn’t been previously reported.
The special-operations unit and the Marine contingent are a small but symbolic effort by the U.S. to increase Taipei’s confidence in building its defenses against potential Chinese aggression. Current and former U.S. government officials and military experts believe that deepening ties between U.S. and Taiwan military units is better than simply selling Taiwan military equipment.
The U.S. has sold Taiwan billions of dollars of military hardware in recent years, but current and former officials believe Taiwan must begin to invest in its defense more heavily, and smartly.
“Taiwan badly neglected its national defense for the first 15 years or so of this century, buying too much expensive equipment that will get destroyed in the first hours of a conflict, and too little in the way of cheaper but lethal systems—antiship missiles, smart sea mines and well-trained reserve and auxiliary forces—that could seriously complicate Beijing’s war plans,” said Matt Pottinger, a distinguished visiting fellow at Stanford University’s conservative Hoover Institution who served as a deputy national security adviser during the Trump administration.
Chinese military aircraft that have flown near Taiwan include H-6 bombers like this one, according to authorities in Taipei.
Photo: Taiwan Ministry of National Defense/Shutterstock
Mr. Pottinger said Taiwan’s overall military spending was similar to that of Singapore, which has a quarter of Taiwan’s population and “doesn’t have China breathing down its neck.” Mr. Pottinger said he was unaware of any American troop deployment to Taiwan.
In May, Christopher Maier, who later became assistant secretary of defense for special operations, told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing that the U.S. should be considering strongly such a deployment of forces to help Taiwan strengthen its capabilities. Mr. Maier, who worked at the Pentagon under the Trump administration, didn’t say that special-operations forces already were operating there.
Mr. Maier told senators in May that American special-operations units could show forces in Taiwan how to defend against an amphibious landing or train for dozens of other operations needed to defend the island.
“I do think that is something that we should be considering strongly as we think about competition across the span of different capabilities we can apply,” he said then, referring to special-operations units.
While some aspects of the U.S. deployment might be classified, it is also considered politically sensitive given the tense relations between the U.S. and China, according to U.S. officials.
U.S.-China ties are strained over trade, the Covid-19 pandemic, human rights and regional security, including in the South China Sea. National-security adviser Jake Sullivan met in Zurich on Wednesday with Yang Jiechi, China’s top diplomat.
China is likely to view the presence of the U.S. military forces as a violation of commitments made by Washington in past agreements. In one establishing formal relations between the U.S. and China in 1979, Washington agreed to sever formal ties with Taiwan, terminate a defense agreement and withdraw its forces from the island. The U.S. later said it would reduce arms sales to Taiwan.
WSJ News Exclusive | U.S. Troops Have Been Deployed in Taiwan for at Least a Year
Thanks, Fergeson; I hope your wrong, but things have felt "wound up" so tightly these last few days, that I guess no one would be too surprised if something finally gave :: gulps n makes the face ::This needs to be on main as an alert. This is huge. The Chinese are going to be pissed, and this may be the catalyst.
China has been looking for an excuse. The problem fo us is, they consider Taiwan to be part of China, so by their view we have troops in their country training forces to overthrow their government. Casus belli if Ive ever heard it.Thanks, Fergeson; I hope your wrong, but things have felt "wound up" so tightly these last few days, that I guess no one would be too surprised if something finally gave :: gulps n makes the face ::
China has been looking for an excuse. The problem fo us is, they consider Taiwan to be part of China, so by their view we have troops in their country training forces to overthrow their government. Casus belli if Ive ever heard it.
In 2020 Taiwan local media had noted the Pentagon expressly denied the presence of US Marine Raiders (a recently re-established Marine special ops group). One report said at the time:Asian media reports last year suggesting a possible U.S. Marine deployment in Taiwan were never confirmed by U.S. officials. The presence of U.S. special operations forces hasn’t been previously reported.
Taiwan officials have previously used terms like "fortress" and "porcupine strategy" to describe the level of readiness the island is hoping to achieve in order to stave off any future Chinese military threat. Taipei has also recently approved a nearly $9 billion boost in arms and defense modernization spending amid near daily PLA aerial incursions of its defense identification zone.Pentagon spokesman John Supple has told Taiwan News that "The reports about U.S. Marines in Taiwan are inaccurate" but did not elaborate on which details were incorrectly reported.
China's Foreign Ministry has meanwhile issued repeat "red line" warnings concerning the contested island. Very likely Chinese intelligence was already fully aware of the now confirmed small US Marine presence on the island, also amid continued major arms deals inked between Taiwan and the US."With regards to staging an attack on Taiwan, they currently have the ability. But [China] has to pay the price," Chiu Kuo-cheng, the defense minister, told Taiwanese journalists on Wednesday.
But he said that by 2025, that price will be lower -- and China will be able to mount a "full-scale" invasion.
That's pretty harsh rhetoric.. Probably pretty true though.