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September 22, 2017

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No amount of drills can make up for an underfunded military

On Thursday, President Ma Ying-jeou presided over a live-fire Lien Yung Drill (聯勇操演) in southern Pingtung County, marking his second inspection tour of the drill — which is held every three months — since he assumed office in 2008.

Ma reportedly made the visit to refute accusations raised by opposition lawmakers that the national leader was paying too little attention to the country's defense capabilities after he only briefly inspected the annual Hang Kuang series of military exercises held in April, which is supposed to be the country's most important annual drill.

Ma was absent at the start of the exercises and was under fire from the opposition for neglecting national defense while he was on a 12-day visit to three of Taiwan's African allies at the time.

Facing criticism, Ma immediately visited a command center in Taipei after his return from Africa, before he made a brief, 30-minute inspection of a military drill in northern Taiwan on the final day of the Hang Kuang exercises.

The China Post believes it is definitely a good sign that our president is inspecting live-fire drills. His presence at the drills not only shows his support for local troops, but it could also be seen as a form of healthy pressure on the military to beef up its defense capabilities.

We would like to remind President Ma, however, that there are other approaches which can significantly boost the Republic of China armed forces' morale besides taking whirlwind inspection tours.

The solution is easy: keep his campaign promise of setting military budgets at no less than 3 percent of the nation's annual gross domestic product (GDP).

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