Washington’s New Cold War: U.S. Special Forces train Taiwan troops in drone warfare

On March 14, Taiwan Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng confirmed that U.S. Army Special Forces, specifically the “Green Berets,” are permanently stationed in amphibious command centers in the Kinmen and Penghu islands. 

The Green Berets are training Taiwanese forces on the use of military drones including the Black Hornet Nano, like those being used by U.S.-advised forces in Ukraine.

Previously, U.S. troops stationed in Taiwan were only temporary, not permanent. The permanent deployment of any U.S. troops to Taiwan breaches the “One China” policy.

China’s sovereignty over Taiwan is internationally recognized. In 1972, in a joint  communiqué, the U.S. acknowledged that “there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China.” 

While the U.S. officially recognizes that Taiwan is part of China, it has maintained a military presence on the island since the People’s Liberation Army’s victory in 1949, when the Chiang Kai-shek government fled to Taiwan. That presence was reduced in the 1970s after the adoption of the One China policy.

Now, as the BBC reported, “the U.S. is quietly arming Taiwan to the teeth.”

“U.S. President Joe Biden recently signed off on a $80m grant to Taiwan for the purchase of American military equipment. … The $80m is not a loan,” the BBC says. This is a departure from the earlier policy of only selling weapons to Taiwan.

The U.S. “is using its own money to send weapons to a place it officially doesn’t recognize. This is happening under a program called Foreign Military Financing (FMF). …”

The FMF, under the State Department and separately funded through the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, has been used to give some of the billions in military aid sent to Ukraine.

The BBC continues: “It has been used to send billions more to Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and Egypt, and so on. But until now it has only ever been given to countries or organizations recognised by the United Nations. Taiwan is not. …

“After the U.S. switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, it continued to sell weapons to the island under the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act. … The U.S. State Department has been quick to deny [the FMF grant] implies any recognition of Taiwan.”

The BBC quotes a top Taiwan politician who “says the $80m is the tip of what could be a very large iceberg and notes that in July, President Biden used discretionary powers to approve the sale of military services and equipment worth $500m to Taiwan.” The report adds that Taiwan expects more than $10 billion in military aid from the U.S.

The deployment of U.S. Army special forces near China’s mainland, where they are establishing and conducting exercises with reconnaissance drones used for offensive military attacks, is an escalation in Washington’s New Cold War against China.

Gary Wilson is the author of War and Lenin in the 21st Century.

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