Taiwan increasing training of reserve forces

Taiwan’s defense ministry said on Tuesday that training for some reserve forces will be increased amid heightened tensions with China.

The ministry said that forces will receive 56 hours of combat training instead of 12, Reuters reported. Reservists will also have to fire more than double the number of bullets they are required to now in shooting drills, according to the news service.

Officials also stated that a mandatory refresher course for troops will be extended to 14 days next year.

The extension is to “effectively elevate combat capability of the reserve forces,” according to the ministry.

The plan would affect 13 percent of the reserve forces, but could be extended to include more reservists in the future. 

The planned increase in training comes a week after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said there were U.S. troops on the island that were working with domestic forces to increase the island’s defense capability. 

China claims sovereignty over Taiwan and has vowed to absorb the democratically run island, by force if necessary. Taiwan has said it will defend itself from China if necessary.

In recent weeks, China has flown multiple warplanes into the island’s air defense identification zone, escalating tensions in the area. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday the U.S. remains “committed, resolutely committed, to our responsibilities under the Taiwan Relations Act, including making sure that Taiwan has the ability to defend itself from any aggression.”

Tags Antony Blinken Antony Blinken Taiwan

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