Army special forces are reportedly training to defend against a Chinese attack on the self-governing island for the first time
The US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) has reportedly conducted drills simulating its response to a Chinese seizure of Taiwan for the first time, reflecting growing concern in Washington that Beijing may attempt to seize control of the island. autonomous by force.
The Taiwan scenario played out as part of USAOC’s annual capabilities exercise, known as CAPEX, at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Military.com reported Saturday. Troops practiced being inserted into Taiwan to help defend against a Chinese offensive, using a concrete mock-up on the base to simulate the environment in which they would fight the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
“The PRC, in line with our national defense strategy, is our real pace challenge there,” Lt. Gen. Jonathan Braga, commander of USASOC, said Thursday in a speech before the exercise. “At the end of the day, what we’re trying to do is prevent World War III. It’s our job.
The drills included firing recoilless rifles, breaching tunnels and using Switchblade drones, the outlet said. Special Forces used some of the same weapons and tactics employed during Washington’s so-called War on Terror, as well as “further tools reflecting a seismic shift for command as it prepares for potential conflict against major military rivals.”
It is unusual for USASOC to identify the opposing force so directly during the APEX, “given the reluctance of the military to openly suggest a conflict”, according to Military.com.
US-China relations have soured over the past year over Beijing’s refusal to join a Western sanctions campaign against Russia over the Ukraine crisis. Chinese officials have accused U.S. leaders of emboldening separatists in Taiwan, such as when then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei last August. China responded by severing its defense and climate ties with Washington and launching massive military exercises in the Taiwan Strait.
The US government recognizes, without endorsing, China’s claim of sovereignty over Taiwan. For decades, Washington has maintained a policy of “strategic ambiguity” leaving Beijing and Taipei guessing whether, and to what extent, the US military would intervene if China invaded Taiwan. However, President Joe Biden has repeatedly hinted that Washington would come to Taiwan’s military aid in the event of a Chinese offensive.
A bloodbath in Taiwan could very well suit US policymakers
Washington think tanks have been conducting wargaming exercises in recent months to simulate how a war against Taiwan might play out. One such study was conducted for a congressional committee by the Center for New American Security, which found earlier this month that US forces would be unable to resupply Taiwan with weapons and equipment once a Chinese offensive would have started. An exercise by the Center for Strategic and International Studies found that even if US and Japanese forces successfully repelled Beijing’s offensive, they would lose dozens of warships, hundreds of aircraft and thousands of troops .
Beijing simulates strikes in Taiwan