Taiwan’s semi-official Central News Agency reported on Monday that the U.S. now has 200 military advisors in Taiwan.
The United States has dispatched some 200 military advisers to bases around Taiwan to assist with ongoing reforms to the island’s armed forces, Taiwan’s semi-official Central News Agency said on Monday.
The instructors were assigned to support training at boot camps and reserve units, CNA said, ahead of a planned extension of Taiwan’s mandatory military service from four to 12 months beginning in 2024. President Tsai Ing-wen announced the policy change late last year as Taipei took meaningful steps to gird itself for Beijing’s military ambitions in the coming decade.
China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, although its Communist Party leaders are yet to rule the island in their seven decades in power. Since Washington switched formal diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, China has opposed ongoing U.S.-Taiwan defense ties and reacts strongly to any political support for the island that might undermine Beijing’s position.
Tsai, whose second term in office ends next May, acknowledged the presence of U.S. military advisers in Taiwan for the first time in October 2021, but said their numbers weren’t “as many as people thought.” Chiu Kuo-cheng, her defense minister, said shortly after that U.S.-Taiwan military exchanges didn’t mean American troops were now “stationed in Taiwan.”
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Taiwan’s army soldiers account for more than half of the island’s active service members. The service branch on Tuesday declined to comment on the CNA report, but said “exchanges with foreign militaries are conducted in accordance with planning.”
Sun Li-fang, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry spokesperson, told a media briefing the same day that it “welcomes allied military training to enhance the nation’s armed forces,” without elaborating.
In separate reports in February, The Wall Street Journal and Reuters said the U.S. Department of Defense was planning to send between 100 and 200 troops to Taiwan in the coming months, the largest such deployment in nearly half a century.
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