The Taiwanese president has confirmed that US troops who came to train the Taiwanese army are on the island. The announcement drew a strong reaction from Beijing. This is the first time since the withdrawal of the last US troops in 1979 that a Taiwanese leader has publicly acknowledged such a presence.
“We strongly oppose any official exchanges or military contacts between the United States and Taiwan,” Chinese diplomatic spokesman Wang Wenpin told reporters on Thursday (October 28).
In an editorial, the Chinese nationalist daily Global Times confirmed for its part that “a red line has been crossed because there are American soldiers in Taiwan.”
Earlier in the day, in an interview with CNN, President Tsai Ing-wen estimated that the Chinese threat to the region was growing “every day”.
When asked about the presence of American soldiers in Taiwan, he replied, “They are not as numerous as people think.”
This is the first time a Taiwanese leader has publicly acknowledged such a presence since Washington recognized Communist China as detrimental to Taiwan, following the departure of Taiwan’s last US garrison in 1979.
In early October, following a report from the Wall Street Journal, an unnamed U.S. official confirmed that the U.S. soldiers were coaches. “There are two groups, the Special Forces and the regular forces,” he told AFP, “for less than a year.
According to the President of Taiwan, “We have a wide range of cooperation with the United States to enhance our security capabilities.”
The president said he was confident the United States would help defend Taiwan against China if necessary.
Speaking to lawmakers on Thursday, Taiwan’s Defense Minister Xiu Kuo-cheng said US and Taiwanese troops have been in contact for a long time.
“We have personnel exchanges and (American soldiers) are here in military cooperation, which, by my definition, is different from‘ stopping troops ’here,” Xiu Guo said.
Arms have multiplied in recent days between the United States and China over the fate of the island, which has a population of 23 million, with its own government, currency and military, but Beijing considers it one of its provinces Waiting Reunion with other parts of the country.
In a video link to the Asia-Pacific summit attended by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday: The United States “is deeply concerned about China’s coercive and aggressive measures (…) in the Straits of Taiwan “.
Tensions have risen there as Chinese airstrikes near Taiwan have increased.
The US president added that such actions were “a threat to regional peace and stability”, according to a statement from AFP.
Antony Blinken, the head of US diplomacy, on Tuesday provoked Beijing’s anger by pleading in support of Taipei’s “significant participation” in UN bodies and the international arena.
“Excluding Taiwan undermines the important work of the UN and its agencies,” he stressed, believing that its contribution was necessary to address “an unprecedented number of global challenges.”
“Taiwan has no right to participate in the UN,” Beijing responded immediately, through Mao Zedong, a spokeswoman for the Taiwanese Bureau of Foreign Affairs.
The highly sophisticated Taiwanese file further poisons relations between the United States and China, which have been at an all-time low for years. Last week, Biden appeared to want to send a firm new message to Beijing.
Asked about the possibility of a US military intervention To defend Taiwan during the Chinese invasion, The President responded with a pledge: “Yes, we have a commitment in this direction”, he declared.
His statement is contrary to the so-called “strategic ambiguity” long-standing US policy. Because of this, Washington is helping to build and strengthen Taiwan’s defenses, but has not explicitly promised to come to its aid in the event of an attack.
Joe Biden’s words were badly received in Beijing, after which the US government noted that its policy on Taiwan remained unchanged. The United States has recognized Communist China since 1979 to the detriment of Taiwan, but at the same time demands that the US Congress provide arms for the island’s security.