President Donald Trump has agreed to accept Beijing’s one-China policy, but tensions remain.
A detachment of U.S. marines will be dispatched to defend America’s de facto diplomatic mission in Taiwan, a former U.S. diplomat revealed Friday.
Stephen Young, the former director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which functions as an unofficial embassy on the island, mentioned the planned deployment at a security force seminar, according to the South China Morning Post. Although the U.S. broke ties with Taiwan in 1979, America maintains informal ties.
William Stanton, another former AIT director, confirmed the deployment in an interview with Taiwanese radio station Hit FM. He said that a “small guard force” of 10 to 15 marines would be sent to Taiwan. “It is a tradition at all US diplomatic representatives’ offices around the world to have a detachment of marine guards to protect the facility. It is standard practice,” Stanton explained, adding that the marines will not serve in a military capacity.
Stanton was a little surprised that Young mentioned the deployment in a public forum, noting that such an announcement “might anger someone,” as it could signal U.S. intent to elevate Taiwan’s diplomatic status.
China was quick to criticize the plan to send U.S. marines to Taiwan.
“We hope the U.S. will abide by one-China policy and principles of the three China-U.S joint communiques,” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang said, “China has always objected U.S.-Taiwan connections through official and military channels.” China has requested that the U.S. “properly handle” this situation.
Taiwanese Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee Ta-wei said the Taiwanese government would discuss sending a defense force to its de facto embassy in the U.S. with officials in Washington.
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