A Taiwan Air Force officer revealed details on Wednesday of a rare interaction between the island's military and NATO, describing how he had attended a six-month academic program with senior officials in Italy.

Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, has no formal diplomatic relations with any NATO members, but has close defense ties with the United States, the island's main international source of arms and NATO's largest member state.

Speaking to reporters on a trip to the Hsinchu air base in northern Taiwan, air force Lt. Col. Wu Bong-yeng said he had attended a six-month course at the NATO Defense College in Rome in 2021, returning to Taiwan in January last year.