A U.S. special-operations unit and a contingent of the Marines have been covertly working in Taiwan to train military forces, part of efforts to increase the island’s defense system as potential Chinese aggression mounts.
Nearly two dozen members of the special-operations troops are conducting training for small units of Taiwan’s ground forces, a U.S. official said, per the Wall Street Journal. The Marines are working with local maritime forces on small-boat training and have been doing so for at least a year.
The deployment comes amid concern over Taiwan’s defense capabilities amid China’s recent threatening moves against the island.
Indeed, Taiwan and U.S. officials have expressed concern over nearly 150 flights near Taiwan in the last week by Chinese military aircraft, including J-16 jet fighters, H-6 strategic bombers and Y-8 submarine-spotting aircraft.
While they haven’t entered Taiwainese airspace, the Chinese flights serve as a reminder that the Chinese view Taiwan as a part of their country.
Chiu Kuo-cheng, Taiwan’s defense minister, warned on Wednesday that China would be able to launch a full-fledged attack on Taiwan with minimal losses by 2025.