Senator mistakenly lists 30,000 US troops in Taiwan

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) on Tuesday (Aug. 17) mistakenly listed the U.S. as having 30,000 troops stationed in Taiwan, a country that has not seen an American military presence in over 40 years, leading to widespread criticism on Twitter.

In the wake of the disastrous collapse of the Afghan government following the rushed withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country, many politicians are arguing that the relatively small force that the U.S. had in place maintained stability in the nation at a comparatively low cost in terms of lives and money.

To illustrate this point, Cornyn took to Twitter on Tuesday to list other current U.S. troop deployments around the world that are much higher than the 2,500 stationed in Afghanistan as recently as two months ago.

Among the countries listed with major troop contingents were South Korea, Germany, Japan, and Taiwan, where he cited 30,000 soldiers in place. However, the U.S. has not stationed troops in Taiwan since 1979, when former President Carter severed diplomatic relations with the country.

Many Twitter users were aghast that a member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence could get such basic information wrong. Others joked that Cornyn had accidentally leaked top-secret information about U.S. forces clandestinely stationed in Taiwan.

The last time the U.S. had 30,000 soldiers based in Taiwan was in the midst of the Vietnam War in the late 60s and early 70s. Many speculated that Cornyn may have obtained the number from a Wikipedia page on the defunct United States Taiwan Defense Command, which operated in Taiwan from Dec. 1954 to April 1979 and had 30,000 combined U.S. military personnel at its peak.

Senator reveals ‘30,000 US troops stationed in Taiwan island,’ equal to ‘declaring war on China’ if it’s true

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A senior US senator, also a member of US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on his social media revealed that the US has 30,000 soldiers stationed in China’s Taiwan island. If the tweet is correct, it is a military invasion and occupation of China’s Taiwan and equivalent to the US declaring war on China. China could immediately activate its Anti-Secession Law to destroy and expel US troops in Taiwan and reunify Taiwan militarily, some experts noted.Some others believe the news leaked by the US senator cannot be true because 30,000 is not some small amount that the US Army could hide and not being noticed in the island, and the US has nothing to gain by stationing the US Army in the island. Sacrificing its own interests to satisfy Taiwan separatists also does not fit with US foreign policy, just like the US did in Afghanistan.In the tweet, Senator John Cornyn listed the number of US troops stationed in South Korea, Germany, Japan, China’s Taiwan and on the African continent to show how the number of US soldiers has dwindled in Afghanistan. But in the process, Cornyn revealed the shocking news that there are 30,000 US troops in China’s Taiwan island.His tweet raised a wave of doubts among netizens with many commenting below his tweet: “how come the US still has troops in Taiwan,” “so the US army has a secret division in Taiwan,” “Cornyn must have mistaken the number,” and “this should have been before 1979.“Despite the controversy and continuous comments under his tweet, Cornyn did not make any corrections and hasn’t deleted his tweet as of press time.The Taiwan island “defense department” made a low-key denial on Tuesday, saying it is wrong and it would not comment on it, Taiwan-based media outlet reported.As a senior senator from Texas, who was once a Republican Senate Majority Whip for the 114th and 115th Congresses, and now a member of US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Cornyn should be aware of the US government’s military intelligence.Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that such ridiculous and shocking news is more likely the result from the old age of the senator that makes him a dotard or his confusion about the data with previous data in the 1970s or 1960s. But we have to acknowledge that there are also some US senators fabricating data to boost their political careers.Whether it is a mistake or hype, we could see the US politician has a lack of political sensitivity and is irresponsible in making public remarks, which is jaw-dropping, Li said.“I would choose not to believe this is the real case,” Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Tuesday. He said the US cannot conceal 30,000 soldiers plus their equipment in the island. US would not dare or take such risk to do so. But we cannot rule out the possibility that the US would dispatch such amount of troops when a military conflict breaks out in the Taiwan Straits.If the US and China went to a war because US brazenly stationed troops in the island of Taiwan, whether 30,000 or 1,000, the price cannot be paid off for the US and the US clearly understands it. It is impossible for the US to be silly enough to sacrifice itself to satisfy Taiwan separatists, Li noted.Foreign policies of the US clearly demonstrate that the US would rather sacrifice its allies to satisfy its own demands and interests, as it has never been the opposite, and the scenarios in Afghanistan, Vietnam, Iraq and Syria are the evidence, the expert explained.Also the day happens to be August 17, the day marking the signing of the US-PRC Joint Communique (1982), which was achieved after contentious negotiations on the US arms sales to Taiwan, and acknowledged Taiwan is part of China.Intentional or not, such information being released on this special day is loathing and leaves the public an impression that the US may have gone back on its words as the communique stated, or whether the US is trying to probe China’s reactions over it through a charade. The US government and the Taiwan authorities should clarify Cornyn’s tweet, Chinese experts urged.China and the US established diplomatic relations in 1979 on the condition of the US ceasing official relations with the island and withdrawing all US military from the island. Secretly hiding 30,000 troops in Taiwan island would seriously violate the Sino-US diplomatic agreement, seriously violate international law, and even the domestic law of the US, a Chinese expert specializing on the Taiwan question told the Global Times on condition of anonymity.If the US really secretly stations 30,000 soldiers in China’s Taiwan island, the US as an external force is interfering with China’s internal affairs which violates China’s Anti-Secession Law. This would touch off a military conflict between the two countries, Song said.China firmly opposes any US military personnel involvement in Taiwan affairs, or US soldiers setting foot on the island or launching any kind of military cooperation with the army of Taiwan island, Song said.Some observers said if this is true, it’s tantamount to a military invasion and occupation of China’s Taiwan, and an act of declaring war on China. If the US really has troops stationed in Taiwan - even if the number is small - it would be a serious matter that has broken the bottom line.Those US troops must withdraw immediately and unconditionally, and the US government and Taiwan authorities must publicly apologize for this, observers noted.


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▲美國參議員柯寧在貼文中貼出了「駐台美軍30000人」。(圖/John Cornyn粉專、免費圖庫)


阿富汗總統甘尼(Ashraf Ghani)政權遭激進組織神學士(Taliban,或譯塔利班)奪權,美國共和黨籍聯邦參議員柯寧(John Cornyn)在推特發文指出,在阿富汗駐紮的美軍近月只剩2500人,藉此抨擊美國總統拜登;特別的是,該篇推文提及有「3萬美軍兵力駐台」,意外引發熱議,有網友指出,這應該是1979年台美斷交前的資訊。

塔利班政權攻進阿富汗首都喀布爾,並將建立阿富汗伊斯蘭酋長國(The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan),這樣的結果讓拜登宣布撤離美軍的的決定被視為「背叛區域盟友」。拜登對此則表示,堅持撤離美軍的決定,會承擔相關承認,並強調「這是延續川普政府的政策」。



US Troops today in:

South Korea - 28,000

Germany - 35,486

Japan - 50,000

Taiwan - 30,000

Africa - 7,000

Afghanistan (month or 2 ago) - 2,500 — Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) August 16, 2021