US to increase training forces in Taiwan: Report

AFP , Thursday 23 Feb 2023

The United States plans to significantly boost the number of American military personnel deployed in Taiwan to help train local forces, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Taiwan s President Tsai Ing-wen exchanges gift with California Rep. Ro Khanna during a meeting at th
Taiwan s President Tsai Ing-wen exchanges gift with California Rep. Ro Khanna during a meeting at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023. AP


The move comes at a time of heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing over an alleged Chinese surveillance balloon that was shot down by a US warplane earlier this month.

The deployment of between 100 and 200 American troops to the island is to take place in the coming months, a major increase from the roughly 30 who were there a year ago, the newspaper said, citing unnamed US officials.

The US troops will train Taiwanese forces on military maneuvers as well as on American weapons systems, the Journal said.

Beijing claims the democratic island as part of its territory to be seized one day, and has ramped up military, diplomatic and economic pressure during the tenure of Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen.

Tsai said earlier this week that Taiwan would boost military exchanges with the United States.

"Going forward, Taiwan will cooperate even more actively with the United States and other democratic partners to confront such global challenges as authoritarian expansionism and climate change," he said Tuesday, without providing details.

The same day, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin accused Taiwanese leaders of "provocation," warning that "any futile separatist conspiracy or scheme relying on foreign forces to undermine cross-strait relations will only backfire and never succeed."

Washington diplomatically recognizes Beijing over Taipei, but is also the self-governing island's most important international benefactor and supports Taipei's right to decide its future.

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