In an interview with CNN that aired Wednesday, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen confirmed reports that said US troops are in Taiwan training the island's military. The confirmation is the first time since Washington severed diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979 that a Taiwanese leader acknowledged the presence of US troops on the island.
Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported a US special operations unit and a contingent of Marines have been operating in Taiwan to train Taipei's military for at least a year. Tsai would not say how many US troops were deployed to Taiwan but said it is "not as many as people thought."
The US has been deploying troops to Taiwan for training purposes for decades, but the unofficial presence is rarely acknowledged. Although twice in 2020, both Washington and Taipei made it known there were US forces on the island.
In June 2020, the US Army released an official video that showed Green Berets training in Taiwan. In November 2020, Taiwan's Navy said a group of US Marines was deployed to the island for military exercises, although the claim was later walked back after the Pentagon denied the report.