Military must maintain discipline, reform: Ma
CNATAIPEI -- President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that the military must maintain discipline, efficiency and effective training while carrying out a series of reforms such as improving human rights protection and shifting to an all-volunteer force.
September 19, 2013, 12:25 am TWN
Since earlier this year, conscription-age men have been required to only go through a four-month mandatory training period rather than the previous requirement of one year of compulsory military service, Ma said of the country's transition to an all-volunteer force.
Despite the new rules, the training will equip conscription-age men with the skills to be qualified riflemen who can help protect the country in times of conflict, Ma said during a trip to a military base in Taichung to show his support for the military one day ahead of the Mid-Autumn Festival, one of the most important national holidays in Taiwan.
At the Chengkungling military training base, Ma recalled his training there 45 years ago and said that his time in the military was an important stage of personal growth for him.
He also took the opportunity to stress the importance of the military maintaining its discipline and efficiency when it is carrying out reforms to improve human rights protection following the death of an Army corporal.
Corporal Hung Chung-chiu was imprisoned and died July 4 after being subjected to days of strenuous punishment exercises in stifling heat.
The incident sparked a public outcry, brought down the minister of defense and forced the government to turn over trials of military personnel to civilian courts during peacetime.
Following the incident, the military has proposed 13 reform measures that will focus on ensuring human rights, making sure servicemen have a channel for complaints and reporting abuses, and reviewing disciplinary confinement regulations, according to the Ministry of National Defense.
During his speech, Ma also lauded the military's contributions to safeguarding the country and to providing disaster relief.
The military plays an important role in post-disaster work, he said.