US should station troops in Taiwan – John Bolton — Analysis

Republicanhawk calls for a reversal of policy to the situation before 1979’s rapprochement.

At a Taiwan policy conference on Saturday, John Bolton, the former US National Security Advisor said that Taiwan should increase military cooperation with the US. He also suggested that the US start hosting American troops in Taiwan.

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.

From 1950 to 1979, the US maintained a military presence at Taiwan with 19,000 troops on the island. 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.

The US maintained informal diplomatic, military, and trade relations with Taipei. Some military personnel were kept on the payroll as advisors and trainers. They also manned the American Institute of Taiwan as the US de facto embassy. Although the presence of US military personnel on Taiwan has been known for a long time, Taiwanese President TsaiIng-wen acknowledged their presence last October.

US lawmakers arrive in Taiwan unannounced

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. Foreign Policy magazine reports that he helped to pass a troop increase in Taiwan while advising Trump. The President Joe Biden continued this policy.

Beijing regards Taiwan as part of China’s sovereign territory. It has warned the US repeatedly against any support for separatist sentiments there. A new uptick was anticipated in tension over Taiwan last weekend when Nancy Pelosi (US House Speaker) was supposed 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 presented his idea at the Global Taiwan National Affairs Symposium. This high-profile gathering is organized by organizations that support Taiwan’s formal declaration of independence. The speakers included senior Taiwanese officials like President Tsai (pictured above) and Vice President William Lai (pictured below).

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