2023-0420: 200 U.S. Military Advisers in Taiwan; Inviting Taiwan’s President to APEC Summit in San Francisco; Taiwan Will Not Be “Provocateur”

Around 200 U.S. Military Advisers Are Currently in Taiwan to Train Taiwanese Troops

On April 18, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) said it welcomes the United States’ ongoing efforts to help the country train its troops, after sources told CNA on April 17 that nearly 200 active-duty U.S. military instructors are currently in Taiwan training its military personnel.

The U.S. advisers are primarily assigned to boot camps and reserve brigades to observe Taiwan’s protocols and provide practical consultations on training methods, the sources within the armed forces said.

The input from U.S. military advisers would help Taiwan formulate better training methods when mandatory military service is extended from the existing four months to one year in 2024, the sources added.

Asked to comment, MND spokesman Sun Li-fang expressed the ministry’s appreciation toward “an allied country in boosting the nation’s armed forces by means of military training.” He added that he would not give details on the collaboration, citing a mutual agreement.

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the de facto U.S. embassy, told CNA that it does not comment on specific operations the U.S. has in Taiwan, but reiterated Washington’s support for Taiwan’s defense.

“We don’t have a comment on specific operations, engagements, or training, but I would highlight that our support for, and defense relationship with Taiwan remains aligned against the current threat posed by the People’s Republic of China,” an AIT spokesperson said in an email.

“Our commitment to Taiwan is rock-solid and contributes to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region,” the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, Su Tzu-yun, a research fellow at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said the deployment of advisers, mainly from the U.S. Army, was part of Washington’s efforts to fulfill the ambitions of the U.S. “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023,” which seeks to deepen military exchanges with Taiwan and strengthen Taiwan’s defense capabilities.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202304180011
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2023/04/19/2003798219
[3] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202304170022

U.S. Representatives Urge Administration to Invite Taiwan’s President to November APEC Summit in San Francisco

In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, 21 House Republicans are calling on the State Department to invite the President of Taiwan to this year’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, which will be hosted by the U.S. and convene in November in San Francisco.

The letter, authored by Representative Lance Gooden (R-TX) and co-signed by 20 other House members, says that “Taiwan deserves fair and equal treatment” and is a “critical partner” of the United States.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen and U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) met in California less than two weeks ago to affirm the strong bond between the U.S. and Taiwan amid rising tensions in the Indo-Pacific region.

The lawmakers are taking a step further — urging Blinken to commit to “supporting a free Taiwan” and “strengthen the partnership between our two countries.”

The Chinese military responded to President Tsai’s stopovers to the U.S. in April by asserting China is “ready to fight” and  holding several days of air and sea exercises in the Taiwan Strait last week.

Bipartisan pressure has been mounting on the Biden administration to take a stronger posture against China’s increasing aggression and offer more support to Taiwan’s military.

Democratic House members are also warning of the economic repercussions following China’s military exercises in the Taiwan Strait.

“My stomach’s been upside down since we started to hear of potential blockades of the Straits of Taiwan because of our dependency on Taiwan for so many things,” Representative Debbie Dingell (D-MI) recently told Fox News.

In 2022, Taiwan participated at APEC as “Chinese Taipei,” sending the 91-year-old billionaire founder of the TSMC computer chip company, Morris Chang, to the summit instead of a political leader.

This year’s APEC summit will convene on November 12, 2023, in San Francisco, California.

[1] Fox News: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/many-house-republicans-urge-biden-administration-support-free-taiwan-china-tensions-mount

Taiwan Will Not Be “Provocateur” in Cross-Taiwan Strait Relations: President Tsai

Taiwan will not be a “provocateur” in cross-Taiwan Strait relations as it works with “democratic partners” to promote peace and stability in the region, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen told the American business community in Taipei on April 19.

“Despite the challenges from China, we have been, and will continue to be cautious in our management of cross-strait affairs,” President Tsai said at the Hsieh Nien Fan banquet held by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Taiwan.

“We will not be the provocateur, and we will work with our democratic partners to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific, and in particular, across the Taiwan Strait,” she said at the event attended by over 800 guests.

Laura Rosenberger, the newly appointed chairperson of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) — the agency handling the U.S. relations with Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic ties — took a harder line on China, saying China’s military exercises around Taiwan “undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

Rosenberger, who arrived in Taiwan on April 18 for a six-day visit, was specifically referring to military exercises China launched around Taiwan in early April, after President Tsai met with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California, as part of her 10-day overseas trip.

“There was no reason for Beijing to turn President Tsai’s transit, which was consistent with longstanding U.S. policy, into something it was not or use it as a pretext to overreact,” she said.

The U.S. government is “working closely with Taiwan to uphold peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait” as it is necessary not only for Taiwan’s security and prosperity, but for the region’s and the world’s as well, Rosenberger said.

The U.S. will “continue to uphold our commitments to support Taiwan’s self-defense capacity,” she added.

Rosenberger also pledged to bring Taiwanese and American economies “even closer together” and ensure that the bilateral relationship continues to thrive.

Meanwhile, AIT Director Sandra Oudkirk said Taiwanese investments in the U.S. help to “broaden and diversify global supply chains, increase opportunities for business growth and job creation, and enable Taiwan semiconductor companies to better serve their U.S. clients.”

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202304190022