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Defense News

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(Written by Reporter Chen, Ying-Chu from Military News Agency, Taipei, November 30th)
    President Ma Ying-Jeou received American Legion today. President emphasized the recognition of veterans and stated that the government has actively promoted the reform of military service. Ma said that American Legion was the organization that had the most veterans in the U.S, including AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary and Sons of AMVETS. Currently, the total number of members exceeds 2.4 million. American Legion Post 49 was also founded in Taipei. Every August, Veterans Affairs Council also participated in the annual meeting of American Legion.

    Speaking of the government’s care for veterans, President said that Taiwan and the U.S. held the similar concepts and approaches. Currently, the number of American veterans is about 22 million. The U.S. government compiles the budget of US$163.9 billion for the following year to provide veterans with services, including health care, benefits, burials and memorials. In Taiwan, there are about 405,000 veterans. The government compiled the budget of US$4 billion this year to provide veterans with services, including education, job opportunities, medical care, support, and care. From this, we could see that both Taiwan and the U.S. strongly recognized and emphasized veterans. 

    President pointed out that since assuming power, the government has promoted the relationship with the U.S. based on a low-key and zero-accident principle. The depth and width of cooperation between two countries are significantly increased. Currently, the government has reached the best status since the legislation of Taiwan Relations Act for 36 years. In terms of security, over the past seven years and more, the U.S. has sold the munitions in an amount of US$18.3 billion and more, a peak in recent 2 decades. In terms of economic cooperation, Taiwan is the 10th trading partners of the U.S., and the U.S. is the 2ed trading partners of Taiwan. 

    President indicated that the government is actively promoting the second round of negotiations of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) initiated by the U.S. President hoped American Legion to assist the government in participating in the negotiation. Regarding independent national defense, President emphasized that the government continuously developed and deployed self-manufactured Panshi fast combat support ship, Tuo River class corvette, Taiwan infantry fighting vehicle, and Hsiung Feng III, and also promoted country-made submarines. In addition, the armed forces have promoted the voluntary military services based on the concept of innovation and asymmetry. In 2014, the expected number of recruitment was about 10,500 and 15,000 people were recruited, with an achievement rate of 142%. This year, the expected number of recruitment was 14,000, and 16,000 people were recruited from more than 30,000 applicants, with an achievement rate of 118%. Besides, the retention rate increased from 42% to 71%, showing a significant growth.   

    President further explained that the voluntary military service in Taiwan was different from all-voluntary military service. Draftees still have the obligation to take the military training for four months like those in the compulsory military service. The armed forces will assemble draftees for intensive training on a regular basis to maintain health. President thought that this approach connected families and the armed forces and became the important power for citizens to support the armed forces. President said that the government has implemented many measures to provide present soldiers and veterans with various services in recent years. These services received recognition from soldiers and smoothed the implementation of voluntary military service. Ma hoped to continuously share opinions with American Legion to enhance veteran affairs. President of American Legion Harold D. Barnett and his wife and President of AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary Sharon M. Conatser and her husband were accompanied by Minister of Veterans Affairs Council Tung, Hsiang-Lung to meet President Ma Ying-Jeou. Secretary-General of National Security Council Kao, Hua-Chu was also present.