The Wall Street Journal reports:
The U.S. is markedly increasing the number of troops deployed to Taiwan, more than quadrupling the current number to bolster a training program for the island’s military amid a rising threat from China.
The U.S. plans to deploy between 100 and 200 troops to the island in the coming months, up from roughly 30 there a year ago, according to U.S. officials. The larger force will expand a training program the Pentagon has taken pains not to publicize as the U.S. works to provide Taipei with the capabilities it needs to defend itself without provoking Beijing.
The number of American troops, which has included special-operations forces and U.S. Marines, has fluctuated by a handful during the past few years, according to Defense Department data. The planned increase would be the largest deployment of forces in decades by the U.S. on Taiwan, as the two draw closer to counter China’s growing military power.
Beyond training on Taiwan, the Michigan National Guard is also training a contingent of the Taiwanese military, including during annual exercises with multiple countries at Camp Grayling in northern Michigan, according to people familiar with the training.
The expanded training, both in the U.S. and in Taiwan, is part of a gathering U.S. push to help a close partner prepare to thwart a possible invasion by China. The U.S. officials said the expansion was planned for months, well before U.S.-China relations plummeted anew this month after a suspected Chinese spy balloon traversed North America for more than a week before being shot down by the Air Force.
With a decades-old military buildup gaining momentum, China’s People’s Liberation Army is increasingly engaging in aggressive maneuvers, sending planes and ships near Taiwan. Following Russia’s full-on invasion of Ukraine last year, the Pentagon has redoubled efforts to get Taiwan to adopt what some military specialists call a “porcupine” strategy, focusing on tactics and weapons systems that would make the island harder to assault. [Continue reading…]