Fri, Oct 19, 2018 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

Military reforms needed

On Oct. 4, US Vice President Mike Pence said that China’s aggression toward Taiwan’s diplomatic allies threatens the stability of the Taiwan Strait, and that “America will always believe that Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese people.”

James Tzeng (曾復生), an adviser at the National Policy Foundation, wrote: “If Taiwan develops concrete military capabilities, enhances the capacity of the ‘total defense service’ strategy, demonstrates to China its determination to defend its democratic way of life and shows the [Chinese] People’s Liberation Army that annexation of Taiwan would cost more than it is worth, the US and Indo-Pacific countries would be willing to bend the rules to accommodate Taiwan, enhance defensive collaboration and jointly maintain regional stability and peace in the Taiwan Strait” (“Military might pave road to peace,” Oct. 14, page 6).

Tzeng accurately states that US defense collaboration with other Indo-Pacific countries is increasing.

However, it is not known whether the US would “bend the rules” to directly strengthen defensive collaboration with Taiwan.

As part of enhancing Taiwan’s defense strategy, the Republic of China (ROC) must reform its compulsory service; “unlike South Korea or Singapore, where men undergo two-year stints of compulsory service, Taiwan requires men to serve only four months, too short a period to be effective” (“Begrudging service,” July 19, page 13).

Taiwanese democracy is a national security interest of the US, as has been determined by multiple US administrations and ongoing defensive weapons exchanges with Taiwan.

However, the ROC government must not only demonstrate to China its determination to defend democracy. Taiwanese must know how their government is capable of defending democracy and why they should be willing to send themselves and their children into danger.

If enough Taiwanese are willing to defend their democracy with arms, then Taiwanese democracy will continue to have political, social and economic possibilities for its citizens.

Ryan Enage

Gulfport, Florida

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