DPP plays ‘US card,’ hypes military training ties amid rising cross-Straits tensions
Published: Nov 01, 2021 08:04 PM
Taiwan Photo: Pixabay

Taiwan Photo: Pixabay

 Amid the growing tensions across the Taiwan Straits, media in the island of Taiwan added fuel to the fire by revealing that a small contingent of US special forces will be stationed in the island for some time, and help train Taiwan troops. 

Experts said that the new arrangement is a "service sale," which is unlikely to include core military subjects. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authority's hype of the issue, on the other hand, has gradually revealed its intention to play the "US card," attempting to tie itself and the Biden administration to the same sinking ship. 

The head of army on the island of Taiwan Hsu Yen-pu recently returned to Taiwan from his visit to the US on October 9. The visit sealed a deal that the third group of active US special warfare cooperation group personnel would come to Taiwan to take over rotation training duties after Spring Festival 2022, according to Taiwan media reports. 

With no specific date mentioned, in 2021, the DPP authority and the US militaries established a new interactive mode: dispatching special warfare cooperation groups to train Taiwan troops, media reported. 

The news came after Taiwan island regional leader Tsai Ing-wen's secessionist remarks that confirmed the presence of US troops on the island. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday on the sidelines of the G20 leaders summit that "the Taiwan question is the most sensitive issue between China and the United States. If it is handled wrongly, it will cause subversive and overall damage to bilateral ties." 

The US training of Taiwan soldiers is mainly focused on special operations, with the aim of increasing the ability to breach an attack and prevent the special operations of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Monday.

Song said that US special warfare cooperation group personnel are advisors and instructors. 

Experts said it is a tradition that the Taiwan authorities select and send their soldier representatives to the US for training, and then these representatives come back to Taiwan to train other soldiers. However, sending a US military delegation to train soldiers in Taiwan does not mean a very deep relation or mutual trust, the US has neither confidence nor trust over the military on the island, the training cooperation is more like an act for political purpose. 

Not all soldiers in Taiwan have been fully vaccinated with US-approved Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Aside from the epidemic prevention consideration, cooperation on the surface means that the US wants to put the onus on DPP. "You have to fight the war yourself," a Beijing-based expert on Taiwan-related affairs told the Global Times on condition of anonymity. 

Given Taiwan's proximity to the Chinese mainland and the flow of information, training in core subjects would not be conducted in the island, as training in the island means that information would be exposed to the mainland as well, the expert said. 

Taiwan's military pilots are still training at Luke Air Force Base in the US, he said. 

Unveiling the island's cooperation with the US is mainly for the purpose of propaganda and aims to reassure DPP supporters that the firm commitment of the US has not been affected by recent talks between Chinese and US diplomats in Rome, the expert said. 

Analysts said at such a tense time, the DPP flaunts American support like a mistress being worried of falling out of favor. 

"Not only can the US play the 'Taiwan card,' the DPP is also playing the 'US card.' Taiwan secessionists want to tie the Biden administration to their sinking ship, which is not necessarily what the US wants," the expert said.