Taiwan acknowledged for the first time: This will infuriate China
A small number of U.S. forces are stationed in Taiwan to conduct training with Taiwanese soldiers, President Cai Ing-Wen said in an interview with CNN.Source: Beta, Tanjug
It thus confirmed the presence of American troops on the island, which China considers its territory.
Tensions between Taipei and Beijing, which do not rule out the occupation of the island by force, have escalated in recent weeks as China has increased military and political pressure. "We have a wide range of cooperation with the United States in order to increase our defense capabilities," Tsai told CNN in an interview broadcast on Thursday.
Asked how many American soldiers were deployed in Taiwan, she did not want to specify the number, but only said that "it is not as much as people think".
Confirmation comes at a time when Beijing is sharply increasing military pressure on Taiwan, including repeated missions by Chinese warplanes in the area to identify the country's air defenses.
While several Taiwanese and international media have previously reported on such training with U.S. troops, this official Taipei confirmation could further worsen U.S.-China relations. The United States, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but is its most important international ally and major arms supplier.
Asked about reports of U.S. troops in Taiwan, China's foreign ministry said earlier this month that the U.S. should sever military ties and sell weapons to Taiwan to avoid disrupting bilateral relations.
Collusion between Taiwan and the United States
Tsai Ing-wen stated that she has confidence in the United States of America (USA) that it will defend that island from China.
"I have confidence given the long-standing relationship that binds us to the United States, as well as the support of the American people, Congress and the administration," the president said in an interview broadcast by CNN on Wednesday night. Military tensions between Taiwan and China are the worst in more than 40 years, Taiwanese officials estimated earlier this month. Taiwan says that it is an independent state and that it will defend its freedom and democracy.
However, China considers Taiwan to be the most sensitive and important issue in its relations with the United States and condemns, as it states, the "collusion" between Washington and Taipei.