Recent official confirmation of U.S. troops training with Republic of China (R.O.C.) forces in Taiwan is hardly shocking news. The U.S. Army 1st Special Forces Group even posted a video of joint training to Facebook more than a year ago.

Recently, U.S. foreign policy has placed increased attention on the decades-long Nationalist-Communist Chinese conflict. To the wider world, it may look like an international conflict between two sovereign nations. Yet, in reality, the civil war between Nationalist and Communist forces was only ever put on pause in 1949. To this day, both Taipei and Beijing maintain conflicting claims of legitimacy.

The Taiwanese government has stated that it could not last more than a month against a Communist assault. This forecast emphasizes the importance of international assistance in the event the mainland government makes a move.

Additionally, the R.O.C. armed forces which were once composed mainly of conscripts, are now moving towards an all-volunteer force. Some training remains obligatory in Taiwan, but with a military budget almost one-tenth of the mainland’s, the island is in a precarious position.