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Maintaining discipline integral in earning the trust of the people: Ma

By Joseph Yeh--President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday urged the country's military to maintain strict discipline in order to stay combat-ready while at the same time winning the support and trust of the Taiwanese people.

Speaking to military personnel while presiding over a ceremony in Taipei yesterday, Ma said that he has launched several rounds so far in his anti-corruption campaign targeting the military since taking office four years ago. At that time rumors were rife that many senior military personnel were using bribes to secure promotions.

The central government spent more than one year investigating such rumors, during which he personally presided over a regular meeting every three months, Ma said. During this time some irregularities were found, but these were not large in number, he added.

The president stressed that the anti-corruption campaign is part of his administration's ongoing efforts to wipe out such practices in Taiwan. It is only by cleaning up these scandals that the Taiwanese people can regain their trust in the government, he said.

Ma gave his pep talk to the military while presiding over a ceremony marking Armed Forces Day yesterday.

During the ceremony, 51 outstanding military personnel and 26 military units were commended for their contributions to the armed forces and to the nation.

Founded in 1955, Armed Forces Day in Taiwan falls on Sept. 3 each year and honors that country's military as well as celebrates their victory over the Japanese in World War II.

During his address, Ma said the armed forces have played an important role at historic moments for the Republic of China.

The military has dedicated itself to safeguarding national security during wartime and contributing to disaster-relief efforts during peacetime, he noted.

Conscription System Change Means New Strategy: Ma

Speaking of the armed forces' upcoming transformation from a conscript to volunteer-based system, the president said the major change would require the military to adopt a new strategic approach.

A bigger defense budget will be allocated to support the voluntary system, though the military must find a balance through innovative and asymmetric approaches to keep expenditure sustainable, he said.

Ma also pledged that Taiwan will continue to build and purchase arms to bolster the local armed forces' defense capabilities.

The military buildup is not “for show” but to serve as a deterrent to the potential threat targeting Taiwan, the president added.

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