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DEFENSE/Presence of U.S. Army Special Forces on outlying islands confirmed

03/14/2024 07:07 PM
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Photo taken from the U.S. Army's webiste
Photo taken from the U.S. Army's webiste

Taipei, March 14 (CNA) Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) on Thursday confirmed that U.S. Army Special Forces personnel are stationed on Taiwan's outlying islands and said their presence was part of an exchange and was meant to be a "learning opportunity" for Taiwan's armed forces.

The defense minister made the remarks after he was asked by reporters on the sidelines of a legislative hearing to comment on recent media reports that American Army Special Forces, commonly known as the "Green Berets," are training Taiwanese troops in Kinmen and Penghu.

Chiu said the U.S. presence was meant to help Taiwan's armed forces identify any weaknesses or blind spots, and to allow forces to engage in exchanges with friendly teams or countries.

Such deployments allow the two sides to observe and learn from each other and address any issues, the minister said, adding that these exchanges "do not involve any proposals regarding the purchase of military equipment."

U.S. military news outlet SOFREP earlier this month said military instructors from the U.S. Army Special Forces had "started to take up permanent positions" at the Taiwanese Army's amphibious command centers in Kinmen and Penghu, and that their missions include regular training and exercises alongside Taiwan's elite forces.

These deployments, according to the report, were carried out per the U.S. 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.

The Act requires the U.S. secretary of defense, in consultation with "appropriate officials in Taiwan," to establish a comprehensive training, advising, and institutional capacity-building program for Taiwanese military forces, consistent with the U.S.' Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act.

One type of training offered by the American Army Special Forces involves teaching their Taiwanese counterparts how to operate the Black Hornet Nano, a compact military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and creating necessary guidelines and manuals, according to the report.

According to SOFREP, the Taiwanese Aviation and Special Forces Command proposed acquiring the micro drone from the U.S. through military sales avenues.

A Pentagon spokesperson earlier this month declined to comment on specific operations, engagements, or training when asked to comment on the issue.

The presence of U.S. Special Forces on Taiwan soil was first confirmed by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in an interview with CNN in 2021, although no information on their location was released.

(By Sean Lin and Matt Yu)


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