Taiwan’s air force is trained to resist invasion, including operating from strips of highway if airbases are rendered inoperable.
By: Denise Simon | Founders Code
China has been an aggressor when it comes to Taiwan. The two nations have had separate governments since 1949 but under Chinese President Xi, he is determined to have full dominion over the small island nation. Major threats have been prevalent in recent years by China and President Trump took action more than a year ago.
As soon as Biden became President, conditions for Taiwan got worse. In fact, in January of 2021, the Chinese Defense Ministry said Taiwan’s independence is war.
In the last few days, more than 150 Chinese aircraft have challenged Taiwan airspace by flying into the Taiwan Air Defense Zone.
On October 1, China’s National Day, two waves of aircraft flew near Taiwan’s airspace; the first maneuver included 25 jets, and the second one involved an additional 13 planes. In total, the aerial flotilla included 28 Shenyang J-16 multirole fighters, six Russian-made Su-30 multirole fighters, two Xian H-6 long-range bombers, one Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine warfare plane, and one Shaanxi KJ-500 airborne early warning aircraft.
And then there were more in the days following.
The Trump administration is said to be encouraging Taipei to purchase dozens of F-16s, a sale that, like other major arms deals, would require congressional approval. The last time the United States sold these fighter jets to Taiwan was 1992. If the sale goes through, it would mark another departure from the Obama administration, which declined to sell the jets to avoid escalating tensions with Beijing. But experts say a sale would be put on hold until after the United States seals a trade deal with China.
WSJ: A U.S. special-operations unit and a contingent of Marines have been secretly operating in Taiwan to train military forces there, U.S. officials said, part of efforts to shore up the island’s defenses as concern regarding potential Chinese aggression mounts.
About two dozen members of U.S. special-operations and support troops are conducting training for small units of Taiwan’s ground forces, the officials said. The U.S. Marines are working with local maritime forces on small-boat training. The American forces have been operating in Taiwan for at least a year, the officials said.
The U.S. special-operations deployment is a sign of concern within the Pentagon over Taiwan’s tactical capabilities in light of Beijing’s yearslong military buildup and recent threatening moves against the island.
The special-operations unit and the Marine contingent are a small but symbolic effort by the U.S. to increase Taipei’s confidence in building its defenses against potential Chinese aggression. Current and former U.S. government officials and military experts believe that deepening ties between U.S. and Taiwan military units is better than simply selling Taiwan military equipment.
The U.S. has sold Taiwan billions of dollars of military hardware in recent years, but current and former officials believe Taiwan must begin to invest in its defense more heavily, and smartly.
“Taiwan badly neglected its national defense for the first 15 years or so of this century, buying too much expensive equipment that will get destroyed in the first hours of a conflict, and too little in the way of cheaper but lethal systems—antiship missiles, smart sea mines and well-trained reserve and auxiliary forces—that could seriously complicate Beijing’s war plans,” said Matt Pottinger, a distinguished visiting fellow at Stanford University’s conservative Hoover Institution who served as a deputy national security adviser during the Trump administration.