A platoon of Taiwan’s elite soldiers traveled to Guam to receive a month of combat training with the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), according to a local newspaper report that was acknowledged by Taiwan’s top defense official.
Just under 40 members of Taiwan’s Republic of China Marine Corps (ROCMC) 99th Marine Brigade were selected to take part in exercises including amphibious and airborne assault, urban warfare and “joint operations” training, led by their American counterparts, Apple Daily reported.
Speaking outside the Taiwanese legislature early on Tuesday, Taiwan Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said: “We have a long history of exchanges and cooperation with the United States. There is necessary interaction on some levels, and this forms part of the exchanges.”
In an attempt to downplay the news, the otherwise guarded Chiu noted his department’s acknowledgement of similar training programs in the past, adding: “There’s no need for further speculation.”
U.S. Defense Department spokesperson Lt. Col. Martin Meiners told Newsweek: “I don’t have any comments on specific operations, engagements, or training, but I would like to highlight that our support for and defense relationship with Taiwan remains aligned against the current threat posed by the People’s Republic of China and is in line with our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act and our One China policy.”
The Apple Daily report said the month-long program is happening under the Luhou—”Marine Roar”—program, established in 1958, while the U.S.-Taiwan mutual defense treaty was still in effect. It was revived in 2017 after having concluded with the end of official diplomatic relations between Washington and Taipei in 1979. The treaty was superseded by the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), which doesn’t include a defense guarantee.
However, the TRA—supported by then Senator Joe Biden—obligates the U.S. to supply Taiwan with the necessary arms and services to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability. There is an additional requirement for the U.S. to maintain its own military capacity “to resist any resort to force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people on Taiwan.”
According to the Taipei-based newspaper, Luhou is run through the American Institute in Taiwan’s Kaohsiung office in the south of the island. The ROCMC, which shares the USMC’s Semper Fidelis—”always faithful”—motto, is being led in Guam by officials from Taiwan’s Marine Corps Command.
The troops are being taught the latest in USMC combat tactics, while American officials are expected to review and assess their capabilities, Apple Daily said.
Source: with agencies