In another Trump administration first, for the first time in four decades, the U.S. Marine Corps is publicly training in Taiwan. This is sure to give the communist regime on the mainland pause, as it has been increasingly belligerent toward America’s island ally.
In light of China’s increasing bullying and invasion threats, President Trump has been deepening defense ties and reinforcing Taiwan, recently completing nine historic arms sales to Taipei, including offensive missiles for the first time in 40 years.
And now, the Marines have landed.
According to Taiwan News, U.S. Marine Raiders, the Marines’ special operations troops will begin training Taiwanese Marines in assault boat and speedboat infiltration operations today at the Tsoying Naval Base in Kaohsiung.
Taiwan’s Naval Command has confirmed that a contingent of U.S. Marines arrived at the invitation of Taiwan’s military and will begin training Taiwanese troops for four weeks, reported Taiwan News, adding:
Each battalion of the U.S. Marine Raiders Regiment is composed of four companies and each company has a team of more than 100 marines with special operations capabilities. The regiment has long been used to carry out reconnaissance missions and amphibious light infantry warfare via a variety of vessels, particularly in rubber boats.
This public announcement of U.S. Marines operating on the island is notable because it “marks the first public confirmation of U.S. military exchanges involving U.S. Marines in Taiwan since the cessation of diplomatic relations between Taiwan and the United States in 1979,” explained Taiwan News.
This is also “the first interaction between Taiwanese troops and those of an allied country since the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) put a halt to such exchanges about seven or eight months ago.”
The U.S. does send small teams of Army special forces troops and others from other branches for joint training missions to Taiwan, but they are rarely acknowledged by the Taiwan government, notes Taiwan News.
Every year, for example, Taiwan’s Republic of China (ROC) Army Aviation and Special Forces Command hold a joint training exercise called ‘Balance Tamper’ with U.S. Army Special Forces (the Green Berets).
But, following the months of amphibious invasion drills and threats by China, it is clear both the U.S. and Taiwan want to send a message that U.S. Marines could be involved in any invasion fight.
Taiwan is also doing its part. According to Taiwan News, Taiwan’s Navy:
has allocated NT$822.24 million (US$28.8 million) to strengthen the special operations and anti-terrorism capabilities of the Marines. The allocation thus far has included the acquisition of 18 special operations raiding crafts, thermal imagers, and boarding equipment.