US should station troops in Taiwan – John Bolton

Ex-US National Security Advisor John Bolton has called for Taiwan to openly host American troops Read Full Article at

US should station troops in Taiwan – John Bolton

Republican hawk wants policy reversal to situation prior to 1979 rapprochement with China

Taiwan should ramp up its military cooperation with the US and start hosting American troops on its soil as it did before the 1979 switch of diplomatic recognition to Beijing, former US National Security Advisor John Bolton said at a Taiwan policy event on Saturday.

Both the US and Taiwan should boost military spending on Taiwan’s defense, Bolton said, adding that the formal stationing of American troops could be part of the solution to the threat from China.

The US maintained a military presence on Taiwan between 1950 and 1979, with as many as 19,000 troops deployed on the island during the period. This changed with the Nixon-era rapprochement with Beijing, which culminated in Washington’s change of diplomatic recognition of China to the mainland under Jimmy Carter.

However, the US kept informal diplomatic, trade and military relations with Taipei, including by keeping some military personnel as trainers and advisors, as well as guards at the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy. The fact of US military personnel in Taiwan had long been an open secret, though last October Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen made an escalatory move by openly acknowledging their presence on the self-governed island.

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US senators with Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (4th-L) after arriving at the Sungshan Airport in Taipei on April 14, 2022. © Handout / AFP
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Bolton, who is seen as one of America’s most hawkish politicians, has long advocated beefing up the number of American troops in Taiwan and taking other steps toward what he describes as deterring an aggressive China. According to Foreign Policy magazine, he managed to push through a troop surge in Taiwan when he was advising the Trump administration. This policy was continued by President Joe Biden.

Beijing considers Taiwan part of its sovereign territory and has repeatedly warned the US against supporting any separatist sentiment there. Another uptick in tension over Taiwan was expected last weekend, when US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was supposedly scheduled to visit the island. Beijing said such a move would cross its “red line.” However, the trip was postponed, reportedly due to Pelosi having tested positive for Covid-19.

Bolton made his proposal at the annual Global Taiwan National Affairs Symposium, a high-profile event organized by groups that want the island to formally declare itself a sovereign nation. Senior Taiwanese officials, including President Tsai and Vice President William Lai, were among the speakers.