Taiwan confirms it has US trainers in the country for defense capabilities

Taiwan’s President-elect Tsai Ing-wen and the head of the US-Taiwan Council of the Council of Ministers on Tuesday confirmed that there are currently American trainers on the island to counter Taiwan’s defense capabilities, according…

Taiwan confirms it has US trainers in the country for defense capabilities

Taiwan’s President-elect Tsai Ing-wen and the head of the US-Taiwan Council of the Council of Ministers on Tuesday confirmed that there are currently American trainers on the island to counter Taiwan’s defense capabilities, according to a Taipei Times report.

The discussion took place Tuesday at the preliminary cabinet meeting.

“In recent times, our military authorities said there is always the possibility for that, and in view of our own confidence and situation assessment we must act independently,” Tsai told reporters at a press conference. “I see this is expected by our international community and considered as a normal practice.”

Taiwan’s Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan said last year that US trainers were training Taiwan on providing for contingencies in case of a conflict with China. The most recent training took place in August 2016.

US Marines deploy to Taiwan for exercises 2013

The US and Taiwan have established certain levels of mutual defense, but that has nothing to do with US forces spending more than $5 billion a year in Taiwan’s defense budget. Taiwan has only acknowledged US strategic and military goals in the island, though it remains officially neutral in Chinese diplomatic and military affairs.

The reports of Taiwanese trainers on the island appear to confirm longstanding rumors about American and Taiwanese instructors sharing the services of each other’s missile systems.

On Wednesday, Deputy Army Corps Commander Chen Chen-chuan and Defense Minister Feng discussed Taiwan’s defense strategy, defense capabilities and threats with the U.S. Consul-General in Taiwan. According to an earlier report from the Taipei Times, the two were examining the impact of China’s new mid-range ballistic missiles on Taiwan.

US to send eight Marines to Taiwanese defense college 2016

Tsai’s inauguration on May 20 will also see a doubling of current US defense ties with Taiwan. Eight US Army National Guard units from National Guard and Army Reserve will permanently join existing Army National Guard units and the Republic of China Air Force.

Previously, the US maintained four airborne troops as part of a regular rotation of 108 US National Guard units rotating to Taiwan. That number will be doubled on May 20.

By the end of May, the US plans to rejoin the Xiangshan Cooperative Research and Training Center, a cooperation center that was recently closed by Taiwan after the Institute of International Affairs said it no longer welcomed visitors from China. The US had been in the Xiangshan Centre since 1983.

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