Taiwan can't neglect national defense: Ma
The China Post news staffThe China Post news staff--President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that promoting cross-strait ties through negotiations under institutionalized frameworks is the best line of defense for the Republic of China and that the government still can't neglect the nation's self-defense capabilities, a major reason behind its insistence on seeking to purchase F-16 C/D fighter jets.
June 30, 2011, 12:07 am TWN
Ma made the remarks when receiving a group of delegates of the U.S. Preventive Defense Program at the Presidential Office yesterday afternoon.
Ma told the visiting delegates that he moved to resume systematized cross-strait negotiations, promote direct flights between Taiwan and the mainland, and liberalize entry of mainland Chinese tourists immediately after he took office on May 20, 2008. In other words, Ma said, the government has spared no time doing what should be done but was not done in the eight years before his inauguration.
The President said that over the past three years, both sides of the Taiwan Strait have signed 15 agreements. When the first pact was signed, cross-strait direct flights were confined to only chartered flights on weekends, but both sides now can operate regular daily flights, with the number of such flights expanding to 558 from 370 per week. “At the moment, both sides of the strait are engaged in the most intensive exchanges in 60 years,” Ma said.
Ma continued, the number of visiting mainland Chinese tourists have exceeded 3 million over the past three years, and the number is expected to increase further as individual mainland Chinese travelers are now allowed to visit Taiwan.
Starting in September, mainland Chinese students will be allowed to study in Taiwan for two to four years. This, coupled with the fact that there are already over 5,000 Chinese students staying in Taiwan as transfer students, has greatly reinforced cultural and education exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, according to Ma.
Ma earlier asserted that there are three lines of defense to ensure the security, peace and prosperity of Taiwan. The first line is promote relations with Beijing through negotiation under institutionalized frameworks; the second line is that Taiwan must demonstrate to the global community its national strengthen and soft power as a peacemaker and a willing provider of humanitarian aid; and the third line is that the nation should work to win more support from its global allies for better protection.
Ma continued that although the first line of defense is the most important of the three, Taiwan's government cannot neglect its self-defense capability. In this regard, he said, Taiwan should demonstrate the determination to build its self-defense capability on the one hand, and should purchase high-caliber defense weapons, which Taiwan is technically unable to produce, from the U.S. and other advanced countries. “This is the major reason why we are firmly seeking to purchase F-16 C/D fighter jets from the U.S,” Ma said.