Beijing obstructs Taiwanese SWAT team bid in Jordan

By J. Michael Cole  /  Staff reporter

Wed, May 16, 2012 - Page 3

Despite President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) “diplomatic truce” and the appearance of warming ties between Taipei and Beijing, China continues to use pressure to bar Taiwanese from participating in international events.

According to the Chinese-language United Daily News, Taiwan’s team in the 4th Annual Warrior Competition was unable to participate in the event after China decided to register for the special forces competition held at the state-of-the-art King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Center (KASOTC) in Amman, Jordan, from May 2 through May 6.

Event organizers have confirmed that the People’s Liberation Army team lodged a protest with KASOTC and compelled it to respect the “one China” policy, which barred Taiwan from taking part. Days before they were set to depart for Jordan, the Taiwanese team of eight army airborne officers was informed that their qualification for the event had been withdrawn.

Although Taiwanese special forces have participated in several international competitions in the past, this year was the first time it had registered for the Warrior Competition, although it sent observers to last year’s event.

A total of 16 teams from the military, law enforcement and the private sector participated this year, the organizer said on its Web site, with Germany’s GSG9 counter-terrorism unit taking top prize.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) blamed the lack of official diplomatic ties between Taiwan and Jordan for the incident, a turn of events that could nevertheless be an embarrassment to Ma, who has argued that his diplomatic truce with Beijing is helping combat Taiwan’s international isolation.

Over the years, Jordan has bought thousands of Taiwan-made T86 carbines and T91 assault rifles with which to equip its special forces. Until about 10 years ago, small contingents of Jordanian special forces undertook training in Taiwan.

According to Jordanian media, the country’s regal head, King Abdullah II, visited Taiwan on three occasions prior to ascending the throne in 1999.