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March 28, 2017

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Military 'can strike deep in Chinese territory'

By Joseph Yeh -- The Taiwan military is capable of striking Chinese bases up to 1,000 kilometers away should a cross-strait war break out, a Defense Ministry official said Friday.

During an interpellation session in the Legislature's Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, Lt. Gen. Chiang Chen-chung (姜振中) was asked by a ruling party lawmaker whether the nation's armed forces could launch attacks on enemy territory in addition to defending Taiwan in the case of conflict.

"We do have the capability and we are continuing to reinforce such capability," Chiang said.

The answer came after the lawmaker, the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), said that the closest Chinese army base to Taiwan was only 250 kilometers from Taiwan's coastline while the most distant base was 1,380 km away.

Chiang, citing national security, refused to disclose any details

on such strikes on Chinese territory.

 He was answering lawmakers' questions as part of the Defense Ministry's Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) briefing of lawmakers — the first such report since the DPP government was sworn in last May.

3% GDP for Defense

 During his report, Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) told lawmakers that a larger budget was needed in the face of the growing military threat from China.

Feng said he hoped to the defense budget could be increased next year to 3 percent of Taiwan's gross domestic product.

The defense budget for the current fiscal year is approximately 2.05 percent of GDP.

"Our defense budget does have a lot of room for improvement," he told lawmakers.

Aside from insufficient funding, Feng said, the most pressing concern for the armed forces over the past four years has been personnel shortfalls as the military moves toward an all-volunteer force.

Feng previously said that eligible men who turned 18 last year would not be drafted provided that more than 90 percent of the military is comprised of voluntary personnel by 2018. However, the Legislative Yuan's Budget Center said in a recent report that as of September, volunteers accounted for only 75.72 percent of all personnel.

The nation's dwindling birthrate had greatly affected the ministry's voluntary recruitment efforts, the minister said.

The report also elaborated on the ministry's "multi-deterrence" strategy, noting it would use "innovative, asymmetrical" means of forcing the enemy into "multi-dilemmas," deterring the enemy from ever attempting to launch military attacks on Taiwan.

If the enemy should dare to invade Taiwan militarily, the armed forces would "resist enemy troops at their home bases, strike them on the sea, destroy them as they approach Taiwan's coastlines and annihilate them on the beaches" — in short, doing everything possible to stop them landing on Taiwan, it added.

This is the third version of the QDR released by the Defense Ministry. On March 16, 2009, Taiwan issued its first QDR to the Legislature for review as a result of an amendment to the National Defense Act.

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