A U.S. special operations unit and a group of Marines have secretly been operating in Taiwan to train military forces there as China ramps up its aggression toward the small island nation, according to U.S. officials.
Close to 24 members of U.S. special-operations in addition to support troops have been running trainings with small units of Taiwan's ground forces, according to reports. U.S. Marines are also working with Taiwanese maritime forces on small-boat training.
The news that U.S. forces have been training Taiwanese troops is an indication that the Pentagon is concerned with the island nation's ability to defend itself against the imminent threat of Chinese aggression.
Over the last week, nearly 150 flights by Chinese military aircraft have been flown adjacent to Taiwan's protected airspace. The aircraft have, according to Taiwan's government, included J-16 jet fighters, H-6 strategic bombers, and a Y-8 submarine-spotting aircraft.
On Wednesday, Taiwan's minister of defense, Chiu Kuo-cheng, warned his government that China is very possibly preparing to launch a full-scale attack on Taiwan by the year 2025 – though some experts say it could be much sooner.
In recent years, the U.S. has sold Taiwan billions of dollars in military assets.