Sat, Feb 25, 2017 - Page 8 News List

Marines at AIT a symbolic gesture

By Edward Chen 陳一新

First, it is standard practice for the US to garrison a detachment of marines at its embassies throughout the world. Prior to the breaking of Taiwan-US diplomatic relations, the US had a contingent of marines at its embassy in Taiwan.

Washington’s decision to recommence the stationing of marines at its mission in Taipei and to construct a marine house intended to function as a social center demonstrates that it intends to extend to Taiwan the treatment it gives other nations. There is a political aspect to this decision.

Second, in addition to their primary function of providing security for diplomatic staff, marines are also tasked with anti-terrorism work.

US President Donald Trump recently gave the Pentagon one month to formulate a strategy for attacking the Islamic State group in addition to other military plans to fight terrorist groups around the world.

Furthermore, Obama has called Taiwan an ally in the global effort to combat terrorism. Will Trump demand that Taiwan provide a greater contribution to the global “war on terror”? Taiwanese policymakers should think about this.

Finally, the marines stationed at the AIT will carry loaded weapons and wear military uniforms, which is different from US military attaches who, while in Taiwan, wear civilian clothes.

However, Taiwanese will have to wait and see whether the Trump administration will increase the quality and quantity of arms sales to Taiwan, deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-ballistic missile system to Taiwan or substantially elevate the Taiwan-US relationship in other ways.

Edward Chen is a chair professor in Chinese Culture University’s political science department.

Translated by Edward Jones

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