TAIPEI, TAIWAN — Taiwan plans to send a combined arms battalion of at least 500 soldiers to the United States for training in the second half of this year.
This marks the first time that a battalion-level unit will participate in the exchange, rather than the platoon or company level, as in the past.
According to Taiwan’s media Central News Agency, the training is part of military exchanges between Taiwan and the US and is aimed at enhancing training and improving systems to prevent possible military actions by the Chinese Communist Party against Taiwan.
The change in the structure of Taiwan’s combined arms battalions in 2019 was reportedly made on advice from the US to improve their ability to fight and operate independently in a war.
Although the Ministry of National Defence of Taiwan declined to comment on the report, an unnamed military source said it would be unsurprising given the increased exchanges between the two sides since Donald Trump’s presidency.
US planning to increase the number of troops training Taiwanese forces
In the past, only platoon-level or at most company-level units were sent to the US for exchange by the Navy Marine Corps and Army Special Operations Command.
The Army Command stated that all foreign military exchanges will be carried out according to plans, and related details would not be commented on.
According to CNN, The US is planning to increase the number of its troops to train Taiwanese forces, although it is unclear how many additional troops will be involved.
The potential increase in troops could escalate tensions with China, which has accused the US of undermining peace and stability in the region.
Taiwan will “cooperate even more actively with the US”, says President Tsai
Taiwan has been actively enhancing its defence readiness and strengthening its cooperation with the US.
Tsai Ing-wen, the President of the Republic of China, Taiwan, had earlier told US congressional delegates that Taiwan will boost military exchanges with the US to curb “authoritarian expansionism”.
“Going forward, Taiwan will cooperate even more actively with the United States and other democratic partners to confront such global challenges as authoritarian expansionism and climate change.”
Technically, the troops of the ROC Taiwan and People’s Republic of China are still at war with each other, since the nationalist troops retreated to Taiwan island in 1949 during China’s civil war.
President Tsai made an announcement in December last year to extend Taiwanese military conscriptions from the present four months to one year starting from January 2024.