For the first time since the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Command closed in 1979, U.S. Marines have taken up positions on the island of Taiwan -- as part of the relief effort in the wake of Typhoon Morakot. Yes, they're there as part of rescue and relief operations, but that won't make the ChiComs any happier about it. Beijing probably won't make too much noise about the presence of U.S. troops on the island for fear of undermining its efforts to win hearts and minds in Taiwan, but surely the regime will find a way to send a message to the Obama administration that it views such operations as 'unhelpful' to cross-strait relations. Here's some video of uniformed U.S. Marines walking past ROC flags and another showing the crew of a C-130.

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