China continues to test and harass Taiwan’s air defense capability with nearly daily forays into Taiwanese airspace. Tensions between China and Taiwan which the Chinese consider a wayward province, and the United States continue to rise. Now, it was reported that U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) troops are in Taiwan training Taiwanese troops.

For the past seven decades, Taiwan has considered itself an independent country

China has never ruled out taking Taiwan by force and its aircraft have continuously buzzed over Taiwanese airspace.

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report that about two dozen special operations troops and support personnel were in Taiwan along with a small Marine contingent training the host nation forces. This is a significant development as China’s aggressive actions increasingly look like a prelude to open war. According to an unnamed Pentagon official, the training by the U.S. has been ongoing for more than a year. 

The Pentagon would neither confirm nor deny any troop deployments or training in Taiwan. Pentagon spokesman John Supple said, “I don’t have any comments on specific operations, engagements, or training, but I would like to highlight that our support for and defense relationship with Taiwan remains aligned against the current threat posed by the People’s Republic of China.”

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry sidestepped any training comments, stating that “all military exchanges are carried out in accordance with annual plans”.

Last year, Taiwanese media outlets reported that U.S. troops had arrived there to train Taiwanese marines and Special Forces in small-boat and amphibious operations. However, those reports were denied by both American and Taiwanese officials, who stressed that the two countries are only involved in bilateral military exchanges and cooperation.

Video screenshot of U.S. Special Forces in a casualty evacuation exercise with Taiwanese SF.

A video surfaced last year showing U.S. troops on the island taking part in an exercise dubbed “Balance Tamper.”