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July 28, 2017

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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.

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