However, Bera – a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and chair of its Asia, Pacific, Central Asia and Non-Proliferation subcommittee – added, “I think we have special operators there and others, and we have had in the past to train this military? [and] to work with you.”
Tillis, a member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, also said Pentagon officials “did not specifically alert us to US troop operations in Taiwan.”
“I’ve been with the Senate Forces for six and a half years and can’t remember a single briefing. Obviously I couldn’t share anything that was in a secret environment. But in general there is no specific briefing. ”Then he added that he would like to see more troops deployed.
In a statement, Pentagon spokesman John Supple said, “I have no comments on specific operations, engagements or training, but I would like to emphasize that our support and defense relationship with Taiwan continues to focus on the current threat posed by the People’s Republic of China.”
Separately, a defense official confirmed to POLITICO that the American armed forces had “advised” the Taiwanese military and were intensifying their efforts there.
Despite the characterization of the US troop deployment as secret in the Journal’s report on Thursday, its details were posted online on the Pentagon’s Defense Personnel Data Center website.
Other news outlets also reported on American troops in Taiwan last year. The 1st Special Forces Group of the Army posted a video on social media last June with Green Berets training in Taiwan and Taiwan’s naval command confirmed last November that Marines had started conducting exercises in the country.
The news comes amid increasingly aggressive action by China, whose military has flown near Taiwan for several days in a row over the past week.
Lara Seligman and Alexander Ward contributed to this report.