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Taiwan President Tsai Confirms Presence of U.S. Military Trainers

Oct. 28, 2021 (EIRNS)—Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen jacked up U.S.-China tensions in an interview broadcast on Oct. 27 on CNN, during which she promoted Taiwan as a “beacon” of “democracy” against an “authoritarian” state. In the process, she confirmed for the first time that U.S. troops are on the island, training Taiwanese military forces. Tsai wouldn’t say exactly how many U.S. military personnel are on the island at present, but said it was “not as many as people thought. We have a wide range of cooperation with the U.S. aiming at increasing our defense capability,” she said.

During the interview, which was recorded in Taipei on Oct. 25, Tsai called on regional “democratic partners,” including Japan, South Korea, and Australia, to help support the island. “When authoritarian regimes demonstrate expansionist tendencies, democratic countries should come together to stand against them. Taiwan is on the front lines,” she said.

However, Tsai claimed that she was not abandoning the possibility of improved relations with Beijing, saying she would sit down with Chinese President Xi Jinping for talks—if he were willing. “I [would] encourage him to have more dialogue with the government and people here in Taiwan, and to get a better feel of what it’s like in Taiwan.... And, of course, we would do more in terms of understanding the situation in China,” she was quoted as saying by CNN. “We have said again and again that we want to have dialogue with China and this is the best way to avoid misunderstanding, miscalculation and misjudgment in the management of the cross-Strait relations.”

Tsai also expressed confidence that America and other “democracies” would come to Taiwan’s defense if the island were attacked by China, “given the long-term relationship we have with the U.S. Taiwan is not alone because we are a democracy, we respect freedom and we are peace lovers. And we share values with most of the countries in the region and geographically we are of strategic importance,” she said, pointing to the island’s leading role in the global semiconductor supply chain and adding that regional powers had a “common interest” in keeping the island safe.

When asked if Taiwan could defend itself without military assistance, Tsai said the island would defend itself “as long as we can.... But let me reiterate, it’s important that we have the support of our friends, and also like-minded countries,” she said.

When asked about Tsai’s statements this morning, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that the One-China principle is the basis for U.S.-China relations and that the deployment of U.S. troops in Taiwan is in clear violation. “We firmly oppose official and military ties in any form between the U.S. and the Taiwan region, and oppose the U.S.’s interference in China’s internal affairs,” he said. He further stressed that U.S. military provocations in the Taiwan Strait were sending “gravely wrong signals to the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces and threatening cross-Strait peace and stability. Seeking ‘Taiwan independence’ leads to a dead end,” Wang concluded. “So does supporting ‘Taiwan independence.’ No country and no one should underestimate the resolve, the will, and the ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Otherwise, they will suffer another defeat.”

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