Tue, Sep 20, 2005 - Page 8 News List

A soldier's heartfelt wish

By Ma Hsiao-ling

As a soldier in Taiwan's military, I have something to say about arms procurement, something that is different from the civilian's point of view.

Can you imagine -- or believe -- that we are using weapons that were made decades ago?

Although we are economically, politically and technically developed, there's still something that needs to be improved. Even China is buying weapons from Russia, isn't it? The joint exercise they conducted recently is obviously a threat at the doorstep.

Due to the lack of ability to produce certain kinds of advanced and sophisticated weaponry, we need other nations' assistance to protect our country from China. And I believe the moms and dads at home would be pleased to see that their boys have better weapons to secure them against getting injured while doing their duty.

The national defense budget is being downgraded year after year, while China is upgrading theirs in double digits from year to year.

We are not asking for war, but we have to be prepared when it's time.

Under the circumstances, we are desperately in need of support to purchase new weapons. I totally agree that the items bought should be considered carefully and the price should be reasonable and acceptable. But it is definitely a must to acquire better equipment than what we have now. The budget has been cut down, and I hope the legislators can think about the security we have to provide for Taiwan.

Ma Hsiao-ling

Taipei

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