Former US national security advisor John Bolton has hailed President Joe Biden’s decision to increase the number of American military troops deployed to Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), but urged the administration to “do a lot more.”
“I think this is the right thing to do,” Bolton said in an interview on Friday.
Citing unnamed US officials, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that the deployment of American troops to the self-ruled island is to take place in the coming months.
The US troop troops, which included special-operations forces and Marines, will train Taiwanese forces on military maneuvers as well as on American weapons systems, the Journal said.
The deployment comes at a time of heightened tensions between Washington and in defiance of China’s warning against such deployments to the self-ruled island, according to reports.
Bolton said he would do even more and said he would send a couple of American naval vessels to Taiwan.
“I would homeport a couple of American naval vessels at Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s big harbor, and show the Chinese that we’re gonna be there training and assisting the Taiwanese against any possible Chinese attack,” said Bolton, who served under former President Donald Trump from 2018 to 2019.
“The aim here is not to win a war that China starts; the aim here is to deter China from doing it,” he added. “And believe me, we can do a lot more to do that.”
Bolton also claimed that China is closely watching how the war in Ukraine unfolds.
“I think that they clearly have their eye on Taiwan,” he said. “They’re watching what we’re doing in Ukraine to judge whether we really can defend, give the weapons for the Ukrainians to defend themselves adequately.”
“Their bet is if the United States can’t rally Europe to defend a European country attacked by Russia in this case, what are they going to do if the Chinese attacks Taiwan or islands in the East China Sea, islands in the South China Sea?” Bolton continued. “And so, a lot of rides on this because the Chinese are trying to gauge, in particular, whether the Biden administration is really up to it.”
Under the “One China” policy, nearly all countries across the globe recognize Beijing’s sovereignty over Taiwan, including the US, which has no formal diplomatic ties with the territory but continues to support its anti-China stance and supply it with massive amounts of armaments.
The United States, too, claims commitment to that principle, but in violation of its own stated policy and in an attempt to antagonize Beijing, Washington has courted the secessionist government in Taipei, supporting its anti-China stance, and supplying it with a large cache of weaponry.
Tensions over the self-ruled island intensified following a provocative visit there in August 2022 by Nancy Pelosi, the then-speaker of the House of Representatives. It prompted large-scale Chinese military drills around the island territory as well as a declaration by US President Joe Biden to defend Taiwan.
In defiance of China’s warnings, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said earlier this week that Chinese Taipei would boost military exchanges with the United States.