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Ma looks forward to more female generals

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday expressed his wish to see more female military personnel promoted to higher-ranking positions in Taiwan's armed forces.

Speaking at the conferral ceremony of 28 generals in Taipei, President Ma said that as of this January, about 8.9 percent of the total military personnel in Taiwan are women.

Some may still hold the stereotypical view that female soldiers only serve in administrative positions in the military, the president noted.

However, female military personnel are now serving in many different positions, including in combat units.

“Some of them have been serving in combat units, such as serving as platoon leader in a missile unit; company commander in the Marine Corps, captain of a naval vessel and pilot of an Air Force jet,” the president said.

He attributed the servicewomen's stronger presence in the military to the R.O.C. Armed Forces' ongoing efforts to promote gender equality.

The president said he hopes more female military personnel will have the opportunity to be promoted to the position of general in the future.

There are currently no female generals in the R.O.C. Armed Forces.

The last female general was Ministry of National Defense General Political Warfare Bureau Section Chief Major General Lisa Chi (池玉蘭). A former military spokesperson, Chi filed for retirement this May.

Meanwhile, Ma yesterday urged the nation's armed forces to continue to beef up their self-defense capabilities, despite warming relations with China, saying that only a defense-ready military can serve as a deterrent to maintain national security.

Citing the ongoing visit by Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), the president said cross-strait tensions have been eased over the past years with more frequent bilateral high-ranking official visits.

However, Beijing has not renounced the use of force against Taipei, Ma said.

He reiterated that the military has to continue its efforts in beefing up its defense capabilities in the face of Beijing's growing military prowess.

The president made the comments at a conferral ceremony in Taipei to promote 28 senior military officers to the ranks of major general, or one-star general, lieutenant general and two-star general.

First Aboriginal Two-Star General

Of the 28, five will be promoted to lieutenant generals, including Hsu Yen-pu (徐衍璞), chief of the MND's Recruitment Center, and Chou Mei-wu (周美伍), vice president of the National Defense University.

The promotion will make Hsu, who is of Atayal descent, the highest-ranking aboriginal military personnel in the R.O.C. armed forces.

Commenting on his promotion, Hsu yesterday expressed his gratitude toward his Atayal mother.

“I am proud of my aboriginal descent, I hope more Taiwanese indigenous youth choose to serve in the military,” he noted.

The ceremony was also attended by National Security Council (NSC) Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰). This was King's first public appearance at a military event since he assumed office this March.

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 Gov't officially recognizes two more aboriginal tribes 
National Security Council (NSC) Secretary-General King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), second from left, shakes hands with a general during a conferral ceremony in Taipei, yesterday. (CNA)

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