US Quadruples Military Presence in Taiwan, Showcases New Military Training Reforms
In an effort to bolster the island's military forces against a rising threat from China, the U.S. is increasing its military presence in Taiwan. A Wall Street Journal report revealed that the U.S. plans to quadruple its military personnel in Taiwan, from 30 to between 100 and 200 troops.
This marks the largest military deployment to the island in decades, and the joint combined arms battalion of at least 500 soldiers will travel to the U.S. in the second half of the year for military exchanges, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.
At a Taoyuan Army base, the media was invited to witness a demonstration in which soldiers showed how to accurately shoot at targets while in standing, prone, and kneeling positions. In the past, soldiers were instructed to fire their handguns or rifles only when standing still and in a prone position.
Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng asserted that China is “strong enough to start a war, but it’s not so strong that it can successfully take Taiwan within one or two weeks.” He added that the Chinese Communist Party would not be able to impose a dictatorship on Taiwan, as “the people of Taiwan are used to freedom and democracy and cannot accept one-party rule.”
As tensions between Taiwan and China remain high, the military has implemented a new reform to their training in order to increase combat readiness. Trainees are required to run past two obstacles before taking a total of 36 shots from three positions at nine targets that are about 50m to 75m away within 1 minute, 45 seconds. To pass, soldiers must hit the targets with six of 12 shots while standing, four of 12 while prone and four of 12 while kneeling.
Army Major Chang Chia-hua of the army’s Education, Training and Doctrine Development Command, which devised the new program, said the biggest difference in the new approach was its emphasis on soldiers’ fitness and endurance, and their need to stay still and control their breathing while shooting after being in motion.
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