Tsai Ing-wen is the first Taiwanese president in history to publicly admit the presence of U.S. military troops on the island for training purposes in the face of rising Chinese aggression.
She would not, however, divulge how many U.S. personnel are in Taiwan in a CNN interview published on Tuesday. She did concede the number is “not as many as people thought.”
She also said, “We have a wide range of cooperation with the U.S. aiming at increasing our defense capability.”
Taiwan, known as the Republic of China, is an independent democratic island nation off the coast of mainland China. It receives U.S. defense support but has not been formally recognized by the U.S. government since diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, the communist government on the mainland, were normalized.
The Chinese Communist Party has long sought to bring Taiwan under its control, but it has remained a separate, self-governing entity. The United States’s policy on what would happen if China actually attacked Taiwan has been described as “strategic ambiguity.”
But tensions are rising. Chinese warplanes harried Taiwan’s air defense zone in the lead-up to National Day celebrations in both capitals, alarming President Joe Biden’s administration and lawmakers.
“If it’s a threat from China, it’s increasing every day,” Tsai said.
The U.S. has supported Taiwan, quietly sending roughly two dozen U.S. special operations troops and support troops who have been there for at least a year to conduct secret training operations, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month.
“It has been going on for quite some time,” Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, told the Washington Examiner when asked about the training operations.
The news was followed by China issuing a warning to the United States.
“China will take all necessary measures to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told the Washington Post.
Still, Taiwan’s leader is undeterred.
“I do have faith,” Tsai said with regard to her trust in the U.S. defending Taiwan.
Washington Examiner Videos
Original Author: Elizabeth Faddis
Original Location: Taiwan’s president confirms US military trainers on island