The United States has increased its military presence in Taiwan to train the Taiwanese military for a possible Chinese invasion. Currently, there are about 30 US military personnel in Taiwan, but this number is expected to increase to between 100 and 200 in the coming months. This contingent is part of a training program that the Pentagon has been trying to conduct quietly and will now be the largest by the US in decades.
The US military presence in Taiwan comes at a time of rising tensions between the United States and China, with Taiwan being one of the central issues. The US has shown increased engagement with the island in recent months, as demonstrated by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit last summer and efforts to contain China’s diplomatic and trade push.
The Pentagon is looking to Taiwan to develop a so-called “porcupine strategy,” strategies and tactics to hinder an eventual invasion by China. In addition to training on the island, the US also trains the Taiwanese military through a program with the Michigan National Guard, which hosts military exercises with several countries each year at its headquarters at Camp Grayling in northern Michigan.
In 1979, the United States established formal relations with China and withdrew its military from Taiwan. Since then, it has maintained its ambiguous “one China” policy, recognizing that today’s China is the sole sovereign entity but without explicitly recognizing its sovereignty over Taiwan. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has fueled speculation that China may follow suit in Taiwan in the short to medium term. According to a circular from a US general, his calculations indicate that Chinese ambitions in the region will lead to a war with the United States by 2025.
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