Taiwan should ramp up its military cooperation with the US and start hosting American troops on its soil as it did before the 1979 switch of diplomatic recognition to Beijing, former US National Security Advisor John Bolton proposed at a policy event on Saturday.
Both the Washington and Taipei should boost military spending on the island’s defense, Bolton insisted, adding that the formal stationing of American troops could be part of a solution to the threat from China.
The US maintained a military presence on Taiwan between 1950 and 1979, with as many as 19,000 troops deployed during the period. 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.
However, the US kept informal diplomatic, trade and military relations with Taipei, including by keeping some military personnel as trainers and advisors, as well as guards at the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto US embassy. The presence of US military personnel in Taiwan had long been an open secret, although last October Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen made an escalatory move by openly acknowledging their presence on the self-governed island.