UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


US Military Bases in Taiwan

Taiwan Defense CommandUS Forces in the immediate vicinity of Taiwan came under the Taiwan Defense Command. The commander of the Taiwan Defense Command, at a time of his own choosing and after consulting with GRC authorities, was to assume responsibility for air defense of Taiwan and the Penghus, using U.S. forces as far as practicable.

In late 1949 and early 1950, American officials were prepared to let PRC forces cross the Strait and defeat Chiang, but after the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950, the United States sent its Seventh Fleet into the Taiwan Strait to prevent the Korean conflict from spreading south. The appearance of the Seventh Fleet angered the Chinese Communists, who transferred their troops poised for an invasion of Taiwan to the Korean front. On 02 December 1954 the United States signed the Mutual Defense Treaty with the ROC. Although the treaty did not commit the United States to defending the off-shore islands, it promised support if the ROC engaged in a broader conflict with the PRC. In January 1955, the U.S. Congress passed the “Formosa Resolution,” which gave President Eisenhower total authority to defend Taiwan and the off-shore islands.

The U.S. Government then announced its determination to defend Taiwan against communist attack, although it did not specify the territory included within its defensive perimeter. The overall US policy was to prevent the GRC from taking any offensive action which could precipitate a situation inimical to the best interests of the United States. The US considered it to be of utmost importance that the onus for any hostilities in the off-shore island area be on the ChiComs. Any GRC offensive action which is not clear cut retaliation against the ChiCom attack would greatly complicate the issue in the US and abroad.

CHINAT reaction to U.S. base-rights requests was prompt and favorable. In the 1950s, after the Korean War and before Vietnam, Taiwan was an important naval and air base for the United States. In 1958 President Eisenhower deployed 20 Matador TM-61 nuclear cruise missiles to Tainan Airbase as tensions in the Formosa Strait smoldered. The 17th TMS on Taiwan (Formosa) was the first TM-61A missile unit deploy in Asia. Numbers deployed, operating locations, and operational history for this unit are unknown. The Matador, a winged guided missile that travels a distance of 600 miles at a speed of 650 miles an hour, was capable of sending an atomic warhead to the key Communist coastal airbases opposite Formosa. Only in 1960 did the United States first base nuclear warheads on Taiwan; by 1970, about 200 nuclear weapons under US sovereign control were in place on Taiwan.

Taiwan was alson a major center for gathering intelligence on Communist China. Pilots of the Nationalist Air Force flew U-2 missions out of Taiwan and the information gained from agents and other sources on events in mainland China was turned over to American intelligence units on the island. The first two U-2Fs were delivered to the ROCAF in July 1960, another two in December 1962. During 15-years of reconnaissance operations code-named Project Razor, ROC pilots flew 102 missions that penetrated the bamboo curtain, including overflights over North Korea and Northern Indochina. Surface-to-air missiles shot down five U-2s over Mainland China.

Taiwan Defense CommandThe number of United States Taiwan Defense Command troops stationed on the island of Taiwan gradually rose to 30,000 from 1968 to 1969. Americans provided support and communications facilities for forces in Vietnam and the western Pacific. By 1971Tthere are about 9,000 Americans in Taiwan. The majority of these serve several squadrons of transport aircraft at two American bases. Other units include staffs at the Taiwan Defense Command, United States Air Forces Taiwan, and an Army Communications unit. There was a small naval contingent on the island.

President Nixon began to draw down the US nuclear force in Taiwan in 1972, the last ones in 1974. In accordance with the Shanghai Communique of February 27, 1972, the United States progressively reduced its military forces and installations on Taiwan, removing its last combat elements from the island in 1975. By 1977, with under 1.600 U.S. military personnel remaining on Taiwan, none of which are combat forces, remaining US "bases” were in effect support facilities. The last US troops left Taiwan on 3 May 1979, when the US switched formal diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing. Since 2020, it occurred several times that words come from different sources that the US has military presence on the island of Taiwan. The us Defense Manpower Data Center's figures as of June 30, its latest report, recorded 30 active duty personnel in the territory: 23 Marine Corps, five Air Force, and two Navy. Then there were 15 DoD appropriated fund civilian personnel there: One army, one navy, and 13 Fourth Estate.

US Senator John Cornyn astonishingly said 16 August 2021 that the US had as many as 30,000 troops stationed on Taiwan island, more than the 28,000 US troops in South Korea. If that is true, the Chinese government and the Chinese people will never accept it. It is believed that China will immediately put the Anti-Secession Law into use, destroy and expel US troops in Taiwan by military means, and at the same time realize reunification by force.

An unsigned editiorial in Global Times [ie, representing official CCP policy] on 17 August 2021 stated: "The US stationing troops in the Taiwan island severely violates the agreements signed when China and the US established their diplomatic ties as well as all political documents between the two countries. It also critically runs counter to international law and even US domestic law. It is equivalent to a military invasion and occupation of the Taiwan Province of China. It is an act of declaring war on the People's Republic of China.... Those US troops must withdraw from the island immediately and unconditionally, and both the US government and the Taiwan authorities should publicly apologize for this. Otherwise, we believe that an all-out war across the Taiwan Straits will break out quickly, and the Chinese People's Liberation Army will wipe out the US forces, liberate the island of Taiwan, and settle the Taiwan question once and for all.... the presence of US troops in Taiwan is a red-line that cannot be crossed. We believe that the Chinese government and military forces will firmly work with the whole Chinese people to safeguard China's territorial sovereignty and resolutely eliminate and expel any foreign forces that violate China's territory.""

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen confirmed in a US TV interview that US troops had been deployed in Taiwan to train its military. CNN said the interview was conducted on 26 October 2021. It came as China is ramping up military pressure over Taiwan. Tsai said the threat from Beijing was growing "every day." Asked if the US support for Taiwan includes the training of Taiwanese troops, Tsai said, "We have a wide range of cooperation with the US aiming at increasing our defense capability." Tsai also said the number of US military personnel was "not as many as people thought." CNN said Tsai is the first Taiwan president in decades to acknowledge the presence of US troops for training purposes. Tsai was also asked if she has faith that the US would defend Taiwan if China were to try to move on Taiwan. Tsai responded, "I do have faith."

Another unsigned editiorial in Global Times published 28 October 2021 stated "The stationing of the US military in Taiwan is crossing the bottom line. It is one of the most dangerous triggers for a war in the Taiwan Straits. Taiwan and the US have a strong intention to achieve the open symbolic presence of US troops in Taiwan by salami slicing tactics. But at the same time, they are deterred by the will of the mainland. So they move little by little, and take a step back when they sense danger, claiming that "the policy has not changed." As long as the DPP authority rejects the 1992 Consensus and stubbornly adheres to the line of splitting the country, and the US allows and supports it, the mainland will eventually use force to liberate Taiwan island."

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's regular press conference on October 28, 2021, Wang Wenbin stated: "The one-China principle is the political foundation of China-US relations. On the Taiwan question, the US should abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, rather than unilaterally concoct anything. We firmly oppose official and military ties in any form between the US and the Taiwan region, and oppose the US' interference in China's internal affairs. The US vessels have repeatedly flexed its muscles to make provocations and stir up troubles in the Taiwan Strait in recent times, sending gravely wrong signals to the "Taiwan independence" forces and threatening cross-Strait peace and stability. The international community is clear-eyed about who is engaging in "coercion" on the Taiwan question.

"The cross-Strait reunification is an overriding historical trend and the right course, while "Taiwan independence" is a retrogression leading to a dead end. The DPP authorities' acts of seeking "Taiwan independence" can not change the iron-clad fact that Taiwan is a part of China, neither will it shake the international community's universal and firm commitment to the one-China principle. Those who forget their heritage, betray their motherland, and seek to split the country will come to no good end. Seeking "Taiwan independence" leads to a dead end. So does supporting "Taiwan independence". No country and no one should underestimate the resolve, the will, and the ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Otherwise, they will suffer another defeat."

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 28-10-2021 16:07:22 ZULU