National Post (Latest Edition)

AS CHINA TENSION RISES, U.S. TRAINS TAIWANESE

SPECIAL FORCES CLANDESTIN­ELY INSTRUCTIN­G TROOPS ON HOW TO REPEL AN INVASION

- nick allen

U.S. special forces have been clandestin­ely operating in Taiwan as tensions mount over a possible Chinese invasion, it emerged Thursday.

A group of two dozen special operations soldiers and U.S. Marines has been training members of the Taiwanese military to defend against an attack.

The troops have been there for at least a year and are instructin­g Taiwanese ground and maritime forces, U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal.

The Pentagon, which historical­ly has not disclosed details about U.S. training or advising of Taiwanese forces, did not specifical­ly comment on or confirm the deployment.

“I don’t have any comments on specific operations, engagement­s, or training, but I would like to highlight that our support for and defence relationsh­ip with Taiwan remains aligned against the current threat posed by the People’s Republic of China,” said Pentagon spokesman John Supple.

The news comes as the U.S. and China are at loggerhead­s over issues including Taiwan, trade disputes, human rights, the origin of the COVID pandemic and the U.S. decision to sell nuclear-powered submarines to Australia.

In the past week, Taiwan has reported 148 Chinese air force planes in its air defence zone, and the country’s defence chief described tensions between Taipei and Beijing as being at their worst for more than 40 years.

As tensions escalated, the CIA announced that it was creating a group to concentrat­e solely on gathering intelligen­ce on China, calling it the most important threat the U.S. faces.

Meanwhile, the White House said President Joe Biden would hold a virtual meeting with Xi Jinping, the Chinese premier, before the end of the year, in an apparent attempt to calm the waters.

The U.S. training was thought to include how to defend against potential amphibious landings by the Chinese.

As the presence of U.S. special forces emerged, the Chinese foreign ministry said: “China will take all necessary steps to protect its sovereignt­y and territoria­l integrity.”

But a Pentagon spokesman said: “China has stepped up efforts to intimidate and pressure Taiwan,

CHINA HAS STEPPED UP EFFORTS TO INTIMIDATE AND PRESSURE TAIWAN.

including increasing military activities conducted in the vicinity of Taiwan, which we believe are destabiliz­ing and increase the risk of miscalcula­tion.”

Announcing its new China Mission Center, the CIA said it was formed “to address the global challenge posed by the People’s Republic of China that cuts across all of the agency’s mission areas.”

William Burns, the agency’s director, said: “Throughout our history, CIA has stepped up to meet whatever challenges come our way. And now, facing our toughest geopolitic­al test in a new era of great power rivalry, CIA will be at the forefront of this effort.”

He said the China Mission Center would “further strengthen our collective work on the most important geopolitic­al threat we face in the 21st century, an increasing­ly adversaria­l Chinese government.”

The CIA also announced it was recruiting more Chinese speakers.

 ?? ANN WANG / REUTERS ?? A Taiwan flag is carried by a helicopter on Thursday during a rehearsal for Sunday’s National Day celebratio­n
in Taipei, as concern over intimidati­on by Chinese forces continued.
ANN WANG / REUTERS A Taiwan flag is carried by a helicopter on Thursday during a rehearsal for Sunday’s National Day celebratio­n in Taipei, as concern over intimidati­on by Chinese forces continued.
 ?? EVELYN HOCKSTEIN / REUTERS ?? U.S. President Joe Biden will hold a virtual meeting
with China’s Xi Jinping before the end of the year, in an apparent attempt
to calm the waters.
EVELYN HOCKSTEIN / REUTERS U.S. President Joe Biden will hold a virtual meeting with China’s Xi Jinping before the end of the year, in an apparent attempt to calm the waters.

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