June 25, 2024

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Taiwan says US using ‘all possible ways’ to support defence against China

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The US is rushing to strengthen Taiwan’s defences against a potential Chinese attack, including by training its troops, Taipei’s top national security official has said in remarks that are likely to rankle Beijing as Xi Jinping prepares for a summit with President Joe Biden.

Washington’s security co-operation with Taiwan covered “all aspects”, said Wellington Koo, secretary-general of President Tsai Ing-wen’s National Security Council, in his first briefing with foreign journalists on Tuesday. “They are not just discussing it with us but taking action.”

“[Our] relationship on these security issues is so close, but we must keep a low profile,” said Koo. “I can only say, they are using all possible ways to help us, no matter if it’s in training or the build-up of asymmetric fighting capabilities.”

Taipei’s public confirmation of Washington’s urgent assistance and the reference to training Taiwanese forces could create additional friction when Biden meets Xi at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in San Francisco on Wednesday.

US law commits Washington to helping Taipei defend itself against military threats from Beijing, and it has long provided training for individual members of Taiwan’s armed forces, such as F-16 pilots.

Taipei has not previously acknowledged publicly Washington’s expansion of its assistance, including the training of entire battalions from Taiwan’s ground forces in the US.

Wellington Koo, left, and Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen with soldiers at a military base in March © Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has threatened to take it by force if Taipei resists unification indefinitely. Over the past few years, Beijing has mounted a growing military intimidation campaign against the country and accused the US of meddling in what it believes is a…



2023-11-13 21:05:16

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