President Joe Biden’s administration is reportedly preparing plans to evacuate Americans living in Taiwan, three sources familiar with the matter said, according to The Messenger.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior U.S. intelligence official said the Biden administration has been preparing such plans for six months and “it’s heated up over the past two months or so.”
The official added that a “heightened level of tension” between the United States and China have propelled the administration’s plans.
“It’s nothing you wouldn’t read in the news,” he continued. “Forces building up. China aligning with Russia on Ukraine.”
The preparations have been kept a secret because evacuation plans, regardless of urgency, make people nervous, particularly the Taiwanese government, one source noted.
“Even talking about an [evacuation plan] starts people thinking something may be going on even if it is just prudent planning,” a former State Department official said.
When asked about the reported plans to evacuate Americans in Taiwan, a Defense Department spokesman told American Military News in an email:
“Secretary Austin and other DOD leaders have been very clear. We do not see a conflict in the Taiwan Strait as imminent or inevitable. He spoke about this most recently in Singapore [link] and at length in recent HASC/SASC hearings. We wouldn’t be able to comment on [Noncombatant Evacuation Operations] plans for a hypothetical invasion scenario.”
A U.S. State Department spokesperson told American Military News in an email that it is not standard U.S. policy to evacuate American citizens from areas of conflict, but the department takes “our responsibility for the safety of our citizens and personnel seriously around the globe and have routine procedures in place to ensure preparedness for any type of emergency.”
Earlier this year, special operators from the U.S. Army’s Special Operations Command showcased their skills during a training exercise in preparation for potential aggression against Taiwan from China.
Dubbed the USASOC’s annual capabilities exercise (CAPEX), the training session simulated a mission involving the defense of Taiwan against a hypothetical Chinese invasion.
The exercise marked the first time a Taiwan scenario was incorporated into the exercise, featuring a tangible mock-up representing the country. Instead of being positioned in the actual South China Sea, where Taiwan is geographically located, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment’s Chinooks touched down on Range 68 at Fort Liberty, formerly Fort Bragg.