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May 29, 2017

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Ex-Marines protest reported military intention to abolish the Marine Corps

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A group of former R.O.C. Marines yesterday staged a protest in front of the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Taipei to voice their anger over a reported plan that the military could abolish the Marine Corps as part of military cut-backs.

More than 40 retired Marines, wearing T-shirts that read "Marine Corps' Amphibious Reconnaissance and Patrol Unit," gathered at a park near the MND headquarters in Taipei yesterday morning before heading to the headquarters compound near the Presidential Office around 10: 30 a.m.

Yelling the slogan "Once a marine, always a marine," representatives of the protestors later gave a petition to a MND one-star general, Yu Hua-ching (余華慶), who is a marine himself.

The petition urges the military not to scrap the unit, which is widely seen as the most elite troop of the R.O.C. Armed Forces.

In response to the call, Yu accepted the petition and pledged that he will relay the opinions to his superiors.

Hsu Ting-pang (許定邦), an ex-frogman who arranged the protest, told local media yesterday that he hopes the MND will give a positive response to their demands.

MND officials should clarify the rumors and make a clear statement on whether it plans to scrap the unit as a whole or merge the marines with other troops, he added.

He warned that there will be another round of larger protests if the military does not make a positive response.

Meanwhile, military spokesman Luo Shao-ho (羅紹和) yesterday reiterated that the military has not yet finalized a plan to further downsize the number of troops.

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