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Military yet to finalize plan to downsize: MND

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of National Defense (MND) is still making evaluations on a possible further downsizing of the armed forces' troop numbers, but no final decision has been made so far, a military spokesman said yesterday.

“The military is still doing a comprehensive evaluation on a more concrete number for the R.O.C. armed forces if we decide to continue to downsize the troops,” military spokesman Luo Shao-ho (羅紹和) told media during a news briefing yesterday.

The military will present a report to the president and lawmakers when it completes the evaluation on the numbers of Taiwan troops following a new wave of downsizing, Luo added.

The spokesman made the comments in response to a pledge made by Defense Minister Yen Ming (嚴明) in January, who said the ministry will undergo a new wave of downsizing from 2015 to 2019 after an ongoing streamlining project is completed in 2014.

Yen originally promised that the ministry will make public the scale of any further downsizing of troops by the end of March or in early April this year.

The defense minister previously disclosed that the military could cut the number of troops to between 170,000 and 190,000 by the end of 2019 from the 215,000 target for the end of 2014.

Meanwhile, Luo yesterday refuted local media reports that said the military will further scale back the number of military police and military personnel specializing in political warfare.

He stressed that no final decision has been made so far. The military will make public its new downsizing plan when it is ready to do so, he added.

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