US National Guard planning 'cooperation' with Taiwan military - President Tsai

China's military said last week it had recently conducted an exercise around Taiwan as a "solemn warning" against its "collusion" with the United States.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen visits the 6th Army Command, ahead of Lunar New Year, in Taoyuan (photo credit: REUTERS)
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen visits the 6th Army Command, ahead of Lunar New Year, in Taoyuan
(photo credit: REUTERS)

The United States is planning on "cooperation" between its National Guard and Taiwan's military, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Tuesday, deepening security ties in the face of what Taipei's government complains is a rising threat from China.

The United States is Chinese-claimed Taiwan's most important international supporter and arms supplier, despite the lack of formal diplomatic ties. China has been stepping up its military activities near Taiwan to assert its sovereignty claims.

China's military said last week it had recently conducted an exercise around Taiwan as a "solemn warning" against its "collusion" with the United States.

Conflict with China?

That came after US President Joe Biden angered China by appearing to signal a change in a US policy of "strategic ambiguity" on Taiwan by saying the United States would get involved militarily if China were to attack the island. US officials said there had been no change in policy.

Meeting visiting US Senator Tammy Duckworth at her office in Taipei, Tsai noted that Duckworth was one of the main sponsors of the Taiwan Partnership Act, which had received bipartisan support in the US Congress though has yet to become law.

 PRESIDENT TSAI ING-WEN of Taiwan lights six memorial candles at  the International Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in Taipei. (credit: Courtesy the office of the President of Taiwan) PRESIDENT TSAI ING-WEN of Taiwan lights six memorial candles at the International Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in Taipei. (credit: Courtesy the office of the President of Taiwan)

"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.

Taiwanese media has previously reported 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 her country stands with Taiwan and that there was "tremendous" support for the island from US lawmakers.

Still, last week Taiwan was not included in the United States' Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, or IPEF, despite its lobbying efforts.

Tsai said Taiwan will keep expressing its willingness to participate.

"In the near future, we look forward to Taiwan and the United States working together in taking new steps to develop concrete plans that further deepen our economic partnership."