Taiwan recognizes that there are United States troops in its territory

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen acknowledged the presence of a small number of US troops to help train her Army, which today provoked a strong condemnation from China, which claims the island as part of its territory. “We firmly oppose any form of official exchanges and military contacts between the United States and Taiwan,” said the spokeswoman. of Chinese diplomacy, Wang Wenbin.

In an interview with the US network CNN Tsai replied “Yes” To the question: “Does US support include military to train Taiwanese troops?”. In addition, she was consulted about the number of US troops in Taiwan. “Not as much as people think”, answered. “We have extensive cooperation with the United States to increase our defense capabilities.”added the leader who described the island as a “beacon” of democracy in the region that faces its giant neighbor, whose threat grows “every day.” In this sense, she assured that she had “faith” in US aid in case of China attack.

In addition to U.S. troops on the island, the White House under former President Donald Trump had approved several arms sales to Taiwan for more than $ 13 billion, including including dozens of F-16 fighter jets, M1A2T Abrams tanks, Stinger portable anti-aircraft missiles and MK-48 Mod6 torpedoes.

It is the first time that a Taiwanese leader has publicly acknowledged the presence of US troops in the territory. In 1979 the last United States soldiers left the island with the diplomatic recognition of the communist government by China. In early October a Pentagon source had reported, for the first time, about the US military presence in Taiwan. The newspaper The Wall Street Journal revealed that a limited contingent from the Pentagon had been in Taiwan for at least a year to train the Taiwanese Army.

The Taiwanese Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-Cheng also referred today to the link with the United States during a conversation with deputies. “We have personal exchanges and they are here for military cooperation. But this is different, by my definition, from having troops stationed.”, he stated.

The dispute over Taiwan

China considers Taiwan – where Chinese nationalists fled after their defeat to the Communists in 1949 – a province that must be reunified. Tension between the two increased with the Chinese presidency of Xi Jinping that broke official communication with Taiwan five years ago after the election of Tsai, who emphasizes the island’s separate identity.

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China, which exercises veto power in the UN Security Council, has since stepped up its efforts to exclude Taiwan from the international community. At the beginning of October the tension increased with a record number of incursions with military aircraft near the island. In this sense, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, said that his country was “deeply concerned about the coercive and aggressive actions of China in the Taiwan Strait.” According to Biden, China’s actions “threaten regional peace and stability.”

Taiwan in the world

This week, the head of the State Department, Antony Blinken, called for the island’s inclusion in the organs of the United Nations and on the international scene. In a statement to mark 50 years since the UN General Assembly voted to admit China to the body, thereby marginalizing Taiwan, Blinken noted that “A meaningful participation of Taiwan in the UN system is not a political issue, but a pragmatic one”.

From Beijing they remarked that Taiwan “has no right to join the United Nations.” “The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization made up of sovereign states. Taiwan is part of China”he told reporters Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office in Beijing. Ma stressed that the People’s Republic of China is “the only government that legally represents all of China,” and He urged Taiwan’s leaders to abandon the idea of ​​relying on Washington for independence.

Meanwhile, Taiwan welcomed Blinken’s support and recognition that the island is “a vital partner of the United States and a model democracy.” “Your support for the country’s meaningful participation in the activities, mechanisms and meetings of UN specialized agencies is key to successfully addressing global challenges,” Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Currently, only 14 nations, including Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Haiti and the Vatican, maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Argentina stopped recognizing the island as an independent state in 1972.

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