The US National Guard is planning to cooperate with the Taiwanese military, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday, a day after China made its second-largest incursion into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) this year.
Meeting visiting US Senator Tammy Duckworth at the Presidential Office in Taipei, Tsai said the lawmaker was one of the main sponsors of the Taiwan partnership act, which had received bipartisan support in the US Congress, although it has yet to become law.
“As a result, the US Department of Defense is now proactively planning cooperation between the US National Guard and Taiwan’s defense forces,” Tsai said, without giving details.
Photo courtesy of the Executive Yuan
Media reports have previously said that Taiwan could partner with Hawaii’s National Guard for the program.
“We look forward to closer and deeper Taiwan-US cooperation on matters of regional security,” Tsai added.
Duckworth said she was visiting to reiterate that the US stands with Taiwan, which enjoys “tremendous” support from US lawmakers.
Speaking later with Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), Duckworth said she had brought with her the director of the US National Guard’s State Partnership Program, “which will be working with you on setting up your all-out defense.”
She did not elaborate.
The State Partnership Program pairs US National Guard units with other countries to help with training and interoperability.
Their meeting came a day after China made its second-largest incursion into Taiwan’s ADIZ this year, with Taipei reporting 30 Chinese military aircraft entering the area, including more than 20 fighter jets.
The Ministry of National Defense late on Monday said that it had scrambled aircraft and deployed air-defense missile systems to monitor the latest Chinese activity.
Beijing has in recent years begun sending large sorties into Taiwan’s ADIZ to signal dissatisfaction, and to keep Taipei’s aging fighter fleet regularly stressed.
The US last week accused the Chinese government of raising tensions over Taiwan, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken specifically mentioning aircraft incursions as an example of “increasingly provocative rhetoric and activity.”
Beijing last week said that it had recently conducted an exercise around Taiwan as a “solemn warning” against “collusion” with the US.
Monday’s incursion was the largest since Jan. 23, when 39 Chinese military aircraft entered Taiwan’s ADIZ.
A flight map provided by the ministry showed the military aircraft entering the southwestern corner of the ADIZ before looping back out again.
Last year, Taiwan recorded 969 incursions by Chinese warplanes into its ADIZ, according to an Agence France-Presse database — more than double the roughly 380 carried out in 2020.
The highest number of aircraft that China has sent in a single day was 56 on Oct. 4 last year. That month saw a record 196 incursions, mostly around China’s annual national day celebrations.
So far this year, Taiwan has reported 465 incursions, a near 50 percent increase over the same period last year.
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