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Ma urges strong military despite detente

The China Post--President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday urged the nation's armed forces to continue to beef up its self defense capabilities, despite warming relations with China, saying that only a defense-ready military can serve as a deterrent to maintain national security.

"Over the past years, we have been committed to developing cross-strait ties under the principles of "no unification, no independence, and no use of force,'" Ma said during his address at a generals' conferral ceremony.

The approach has proven successful in easing cross-strait tensions while at the same time increasing Taiwan's international visibility and global space, the president added.

Despite the fact that Taiwan-China ties are warming, Ma reiterated that the military has to continue its efforts in beefing up its defense capabilities in the face of Beijing's growing military prowess.

During his address, Ma gave credit to the military's defense preparedness and disaster-relief efforts over the past years.

But he stressed that there is still room for improvement for local troops, such as raising physical fitness standards for military personnel and setting up an agency in the Armed Forces to fight corruption.

The president made the comments at a conferral ceremony in Taipei to promote 23 senior military officers to the ranks of major general (one-star general) or lieutenant general (two-star general).

Of the 23, five will be promoted to the rank of lieutenant general, including Hau Yi-chih (郝以知), a ministry counselor.

Four of those to be promoted are Army Penghu Defense Commander Chou Hau-yu (周皓瑜), Navy Fleet Command deputy head Lu Chien-ti (盧前悌), Air Force Combat Command deputy head Ma Tzu-yung (馬自勇) and National Security Bureau Special Service Center deputy commander Hsu Yen-ching (許燕情), who is responsible for President Ma's safety.

The 18 others will be promoted to the rank of major general.

One of the newly-promoted generals, Ching Yao-tsung (景耀宗), was renowned for being one of the few Taiwanese generals that could speak fluent Arabic.

1 Comment
June 27, 2012    sinohog@
Friends of Taiwan haven't been happy about the denial of sales of F16s to Taiwan. Last time, it was a win-win proposition for the U.S. and Taiwan as it put Americans to work during a recession and kept the F-16 production line going at a time when it could have been scrapped. But if one investigates further, the large missile buildup on the mainland would put those planes in grave danger. Even hardened shelters would be at risk during a likely first wave attack. The missiles also pose a risk to U.S. bases in Japan. So the U.S. is quietly building a large base in Guam. That would raise the stakes dramatically should China attack as they would then be attacking U.S. soil. Taiwan has built two shelters that would be safe from any missile or smart bomb attack. It would probably need at least one more to shelter the new F-16s. But those kind of shelters cost Billions to build. The U.S. has numerous such shelters left over from the cold war. They are old mines that were re-purposed as shelters. They are now used for commercial use and as back up IT facilities in the even of a terrorist or cyber attack. The U.S. is increasingly concerned about the buildup in missiles by the mainland as they are starting to threaten U.S. forces in the South China Sea that also protect South Korea and other allies besides Taiwan. The U.S. is bound by treaty not to build medium range ballistic missiles because of their dual use capability as nuclear missiles and difficulties in distinguishing whether or not they are nuclear or conventional missiles. It would be a simple task to adapt the old Pershing missile platform for conventional warheads. But the U.S. doesn't want an arms race in the Pacific. Some comments have been made about the growing clout of the Chinese military in China and whether or not it is developing a separate power base that may undermine U.S. and others diplomatic efforts to avoid an arms race. Clearly Taiwan has to take steps to restore the military balance across the straits. But you can see the situation the U.S. is in as an arms race with China could be a problem if China's missile build up continues to threaten the U.S. military. Neither side wants a wasteful arms race.
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