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May 26, 2017

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Plans for downsizing of military not yet finalized: MND

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday reiterated that the military has not yet finalized a plan to further downsize the number of troops in an attempt to refute rumors that it may abolish the Marine Corps as part of a military trimming project.

Military spokesman Luo Shao-ho (羅紹和) made the clarification yesterday when asked by local media to comment on a protest scheduled to be launched by a group of retired R.O.C. marines to voice their anger over the reported plan to abolish the Marine Corps.

"No final decision has been made on which troops will be downsized or merged with other units," Luo said, urging retired marines not to overact over unfounded rumors.

According to the Chinese-language Apple Daily, a group of 70 retired R.O.C. marines is scheduled to stage a protest in front of the MND Headquarters compound in Taipei today.

The military originally said the R.O.C. armed forces would be downsized to around 215,000 from the current 275,000 by the end of this year.

Defense Minister Yen Ming, however, announced this January that military will undergo a new wave of downsizing from 2015 to 2019 to further cut the number of troops to between 170,000 and 190,000.

Since the announcement, there have been numerous rumors that the MND could largely cut down the numbers of the Military Police and Marine Corps.

Earlier this month, Yen himself refuted the allegations, stressing that his ministry has no plans to abolish the Marine Corps.

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