US has built up military stash for potential Taiwan war – Reuters
The US used last year’s largest-ever joint drills with Australia to create new stockpiles of equipment in the country, in preparation for a potential conflict with China over Taiwan, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing sources.
According to US officials interviewed by the agency, the war materiel was stashed during the Talisman Sabre exercises last July and August. The drills, which were held in and around Australia, involved more than 34,000 troops from 13 nations and focused on boosting combat readiness and logistical capabilities.
The equipment from the exercises included 330 vehicles and trailers and 130 containers stored in the southeastern part of Australia, Reuters reported. It added that in the event of a conflict, this would be enough to supply about three logistics companies with a combined strength of 500 or more soldiers. Alternatively, the equipment could be used during future drills or to deal with a potential natural disaster.
Numerous officials interviewed by the news agency cited logistics as a weak spot in the US military which China could exploit in the event of a conflict, potentially by bombing refueling ships and jet fuel depots. Such tactics, the officials warned, could allow Beijing to hamstring Washington without having to engage the bulk of US forces.
The Chinese Embassy in the US did not directly comment on the report, but told Reuters that Washington should “stop enhancing military contact with the Taiwan region” and “stop creating factors that could heighten tensions in the Taiwan Strait.”
The rift between the US and China over Taiwan has widened in recent months, fueled by Washington’s arms sales as well as visits by senior lawmakers to the self-governing island.
Beijing regards Taiwan as part of its sovereign territory, and has denounced US contact with Taipei as meddling in its internal affairs. President Xi Jinping has said China is seeking peaceful reunification with the island, although Beijing has not ruled out the use of force to achieve this goal.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden pledged in 2022 that Washington would defend Taiwan if “there was an unprecedented attack,” but insisted that his country is not encouraging independence for the island.