Secret Military Trainers in Taiwan for at Least a Year

( Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the United States military has been secretly maintaining a small contingent of special forces in Taiwan to train the Taiwanese military.

About two dozen US special forces along with an unspecified number of Marines were first sent to Taiwan by the Trump administration at least a year ago, but their presence had not been reported until last week.

US troops have not been permanently based on the island of Taiwan since 1979 after President Jimmy Carter officially recognized the Communist Chinese Party as the government of China and established diplomatic relations with the PRC.

Pentagon spokesman John Supple would not directly comment on the Wall Street Journal report, but he did say that US support for Taiwan and its defense relationship “remains aligned against the current threat” from Beijing.

Speaking at a security forum in Taipei on Friday, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said that while she hopes her country maintains a “peaceful, stable, predictable and mutually beneficial coexistence” with its neighbors, Taiwan will do “whatever it takes to defend its freedom and democratic way of life.”

While the presence of US Marines Raiders in Taiwan had been previously reported in November 2020, and later confirmed by the Taiwan Navy Command, it was described as a “routine Taiwan-US military exchange and cooperation training.” However, US officials at the time said the November 2020 reports were “inaccurate,” but did not elaborate further.

The saber-rattling state-media outlet, the Global Times, reported that China’s state council “strongly opposed” military “collusion” between the United States and Taiwan, and demanded that the US stop any provocations.

In response to the Journal’s report, the editor-in-chief for the Global Times, Hu Xijin took to Twitter demanding to know why these special forces teams were there secretly. He suggested the US send them publicly, in uniform and publicly announce where they are stationed to see whether the Peoples Liberation Army “will launch a targeted airstrike to eliminate those US invaders!”

According to the Journal report, these special operators stationed in Taiwan are rotated in and out, so it does not mark a permanent US military presence on the island.