Defense News


(Reported by Military News Agency reporter, Li Yi-Hao, Taipei December 29th)

    In the hosting of the “Armed Forces Generals and Officials Award Decoration Ceremony” by today, besides extending his congratulations to the officials and their family, President Ma Ying-Jeou acknowledged the achievements of the military in increasing combat capacity and promoting military recruitment. He also expects all military officials and soldier to continue their duty in the defense of Taiwan and live up to the expectations of the people. In his speech, he expressed that, in recent years, the military has strived hard for the restructuring of the military, and has achieved significant success in aspects of combat readiness training, disaster relief and rescue mission, and promotion of restructuring, military recruitment, anti-corruption, and military procurement for combat readiness. The President also indicated that the “Three Lines of Defense” he proposed four years ago for the defense of Taiwan security, including “Cross-Straits Resolution to Achieve Peace, Develop International Relations Through Diplomacy and Deter Threats Through Military Might” will allow Taiwan to establish a strong foundation for national security. The first line of defense for Taiwan should not be an armaments race but the promotion of cross-straits peace to reduce possibility of conflicts. This corresponds with the “The best military plan is to win through strategy” proposed in the “Art of War” by SunZi. The President also expressed that, despite our efforts to strive for peace, we should not be complacent or assume that the enemies would not come. Only a strong national defense can guarantee national security. He also stressed that “although the world is in peaceful times, forgetting (the threat of) war is dangerous”, so the military must not be complacent in the combat readiness. The military should uphold the spirit of “stopping war but not fearing it, preparing for war but not seeking it” and develop a “Compact, Strong and Versatile” military force that with “Innovative and Asymmetric” mindsets.

    When discussing the results of the military building, the President indicated that since his inauguration, the military sales from US to Taiwan have exceeded 20.1 billion US dollars which is the highest in the past 20 years. In addition, the US government has announced another military sale worth 1.831 billion US dollars on December 16th. In terms of our self-development in national defense, Taiwan has developed the Yun-Bao Infantry Armored Vehicle, Pan-Shi Fast Combat Support Ship, Swift Sea Missile Cruiser, Wan-Chien Cluster Bomb and Hsiung Feng III Missiles and Unmanned drones, and performance upgrades for Indigenous Defensive Fighter, as well as active plans for the building of submarines, all of which are testaments to the competence of the science and technology development of the military. In terms of the military fitness and combat skills, the President mentioned that in 2009, the military began the first implementation of the new physical fitness tests and achieved a passing rate of only 28%. Under the continuous guidance and training of all departments, the passing rate has greatly improved to 91.4% this year in just 3 seasons. In addition, the military has introduced “Combat Fitness”, “General Combat Skills” and “Wartime Shooting” training this year, and resumed grenade training and march training. Efforts are also taken to strengthen the joint cooperation of the armed forces, night warfare, base resistance, missile shooting, rapid deployment of troops and firepower and network warfare to ensure the effective promotion of our combat capabilities.

    In the restructuring of the enlistment system, the President indicated that the government has dedicated efforts to promote the complementation of recruitment and enlistment. Last year, the recruitment plan aimed to recruit 10 thousand 557 soldiers and managed to recruit over 15 thousand soldiers, achieving a target completion rate of 142%. This year, the recruitment target was at 14 thousand and managed to recruit over 18 thousand soldiers from the 30 thousand candidates, achieving a rate of 129%. Retention of soldiers also increased from the average of 46.3% in 2012 and 2013 to 71.9% in 2015. In addition, on April 1st earlier this year, the Executive Yuan also began issuing the “Combat Troop Duty Rewards” and “Retention Benefits”, increasing the average retention rate of combat troops  by 10.5% as compared to last year. These statistics demonstrated that the success of the recruitment and retention programs are achieving stable growth. In terms of the promotion of “integrity” of the military, the President expressed that in the global report on 2015 Government Defense Anti-Corruption Index published by the Transparency International on November 4th, Taiwan was classified as low corruption risk and ranked “B” Class among the 17 Asian countries, alongside Australia, Japan and Singapore, and just behind New Zealand. According to a recent research ranking the top 20 military mights of the world by Credit Suisse, Taiwan is ranked 13th, demonstrating our success in military development.

    The President also mentioned that, in the 19th National Seminar and 59th Academic Awards hosted by the Ministry of Education on December 21st, the National Defense Medical Center Principal, Major General Zhao Shao-Kang was the first in the military to win the prestigious award due to his long-term efforts in Immunology. In the Decoration Ceremony today, another female general was appointed today, Major General Chang De-Lan from the National Security Bureau, a testament of female heroism. As this year coincides with the 70th Anniversary of the Japanese Resistance, the President indicated that the government has made use of various events and channels to issue the “Resistance Victory Medals” to the war heroes since June as a token of appreciation for their courageous deeds during the Japanese Occupation.  Currently, over 13 thousand medals were issued in both Taiwan and overseas. In addition, the President has also ordered the National Security Bureau and Ministry of Defense to plan for the issue of “Medal of Taiwan Defense” to the defenders of Taiwan over the 66 years. As the plan nears maturity, the President hopes that the implementation can be carried out to express the thanks due to the sacrifices and contributions of these heroes. The President Secretary Cheng Yong-Quan, National Security Bureau Secretary Gao Hua-Zhu, Minister of Defense Gao Guang-Chi, Chief of General Staff General Yan The-Fa, National Security Bureau Director Yang Guo-Qiang, and Coast Guard Administration Minister Wang Chung-Yi were invited to the ceremony.