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Taiwan: The Calm Before the Storm

The United States is sending up to 200 troops to Taiwan in a broad move to increase support for the Taiwanese military after tensions with China have escalated. Almost a year ago, only 30 troops were stationed on the island, but the latest move seems to re-affirm President Biden’s commitment to stand with Taiwan through thick and thin. The troops are part of a specialized training force that has previously included members of the Marines, Special Ops, and National Guard. In addition to on-the-ground training in Taiwan, the U.S. will be welcoming a contingent of the Taiwanese armed forces to U.S. soil to be trained by the Michigan National Guard. The latest move by the White House to assist America’s East Asian ally comes after increased speculation that China could be making moves to support Russia in Ukraine. With more boots on the ground in Asia, China seeking friends, and NATO butting heads with Russia, the world continues to be divided in two. 

FOX NEWS: US sending up to 200 more troops to Taiwan as China tensions grow

By Liz Friden & Greg Norman; February 23, 2023

The U.S. is preparing to send 100 to 200 troops to Taiwan for training amid rising tensions with China, a U.S. official familiar with the planning confirmed to Fox News on Thursday.  

This number will expand a much smaller training program, which has included the National Guard, Special Ops, and U.S. Marines in the past.  

The Michigan National Guard will also train a contingent of the Taiwanese Army, including some training as part of larger exercises, on U.S. soil.  

The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, cited U.S. officials as saying only around 30 American troops were stationed in Taiwan about a year ago. 

“We don’t have a comment on specific operations, engagements, or training, but I would highlight that our support for, and defense relationship with, Taiwan remains aligned against the current threat posed by the People’s Republic of China,” Lt. Col. Marty Meiners, a Defense Department spokesperson, told Fox News on Thursday. 

“Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region,” he added. 

The Wall Street Journal described the planned troop increase in the coming months as the largest deployment of American forces in Taiwan in decades. 

Officials who spoke to the newspaper said the increase has been planned for months, before China escalated tensions with the U.S. by flying a spy balloon over American soil. 

The troops going to Taiwan will be tasked with training its military on U.S. weapon systems, as well as maneuvers to counter a potential offensive from China, they added. 

In recent weeks, China has frequently been sending its ships and aircraft into Taiwanese waters and airspace. 

Taiwan split from China in 1949 after a civil war. The only connection between the two nations is billions of dollars in trade and investment. Mainland China does not recognize Taiwan independence and wants it to unite with the mainland. 

“One of the difficult things to determine is what really is objectionable to China,” one of the U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal about the planned troop deployment. “We don’t think at the levels that we’re engaged in and are likely to remain engaged in the near future that we are anywhere close to a tipping point for China, but that’s a question that is constantly being evaluated and looked at specifically with every decision involving support to Taiwan.”

Photo: Annabelle Chih/Getty Images

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