U.S. special operations forces have been quietly training Taiwanese troops for months, a move which China warned on Friday could cause “serious harm” to relations between Washington and Beijing.
A contingent of around 20 special operations and conventional forces has been conducting the training for less than a year, the Pentagon official, who declined to be identified, said on Thursday, adding that some of the trainers rotate in and out.
Beijing opposes self-ruled Taiwan — which it views as its own territory to be seized one day, by force if necessary — having any official diplomatic exchanges and has aggressively tried to dissuade politicians from visiting in recent years.
China reacted angrily to the report on Friday, with the foreign ministry warning that the U.S. should recognise the “high sensitivity” of the Taiwan situation and “serious harm” of its actions.
Taiwan’s Defense Ministry declined to comment, but Pentagon spokesman John Supple said that generally speaking, U.S. support for Taiwan’s military is gauged on its defense needs.
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