TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s military authorities rebutted reports that a battalion of U.S. Marines had conducted training exercises on the island as part of a tour that saw them deployed in four countries in the Indo-Pacific region.
According to a report by Pasadena Now, approximately 200 Marines based in Pasadena City in California were welcomed home in a ceremony at City Hall on May 10 following a six-month deployment spanning the nations of Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines.
Chinese media outlet Duowei News associated the troops’ deployment with a wargame conducted by Marine Corps War College in April involving conflict scenarios in the Taiwan Strait, and an alleged “highly classified” military drill in the waters of the Philippines, in which Taiwan, the U.S., Australia, Japan, and other countries had participated during the same month.
The reports have been dismissed by an official of Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense who, speaking on condition of anonymity, noted that it has been a common practice for U.S. military officials to visit Taiwan as “observers” at the island’s Han Kuang exercises.
The Taiwanese official also refuted allegations that Taiwan has joined a number of countries in a secret drill, calling it inconceivable that acts of dispatching frigates for naval exercises can be concealed from the public, China Times quoted him as saying.