President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday urged the military to stride forward at a steady pace amid public criticism over recent controversial incidents implicating military officers, pledging to not shirk her responsibility as commander-in-chief of the nation’s armed forces and to push for drastic reforms.
“Over the past few days, some incidents occurred within the armed forces. I believe all of you are worried and, in the face of criticism from all sectors of society, upset or even feel dispirited just like me,” Tsai said in a speech during a joint graduation ceremony of the Military Academy, Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, National Defense University and National Defense Medical Center in Kaohsiung yesterday morning.
Calling on the military to have the courage to face its mistakes and challenges, Tsai said the greater the frustration soldiers encounter, the larger steps they should take in their march forward.
Tsai said she would not sugarcoat recent controversies involving the military and tell them that everything about the nation’s armed forces is positive.
“Saying so while standing right here would make me an irresponsible commander-in-chief. I will not evade problems, nor will I shirk my responsibility. Our armed forces require reforms and they should be bold and drastic reforms,” Tsai said.
Tsai’s speech came on the heels of the navy’s accidental launching of a locally developed Hsiung Feng III missile from a 500-tonne Chinchiang-class corvette at Zuoying Military Harbor in Kaohsiung during a drill on Friday last week.
The missile struck a Taiwanese fishing boat, the Hsiang Li Sheng (翔利昇), operating in waters southeast of Penghu County in the Taiwan Strait, killing its captain, Huang Wen-chung (黃文忠), and injuring three crew members.
The missile blunder further fueled a public outcry directed at the military, which had faced an outpouring of criticism over the killing of a dog by marines at a military base late last month.
The president said the key problems facing the nation’s armed forces include military officers’ lack of strategic guidance, defense resources, the size of the army, arms and the gap between national defense construction and economic development.
“We will also reform the military’s system and culture. The superficial formality, waste of manpower and insufficiency are all focuses of our reform,” Tsai said, vowing to make military officers gradually see changes in the armed forces’ system.
Later yesterday, Tsai paid her respects to Huang’s family in Kaohsiung, accompanied by National Security Council Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) and Kaohsiung City Council Speaker Kang Yu-cheng (康裕成) of the Democratic Progressive Party.
Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said Tsai, in her capacity as commander-in-chief, extended her sincerest apologies to Huang Wen-chung’s wife and other family members, and vowed to ascertain the truth about the incident as soon as possible.
Alex Huang said Tsai told the victim’s family that she has instructed the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Justice to form an ad hoc group to investigate the incident.
As Huang Wen-chung was his household’s main source of income, Tsai also asked Chen and the defense ministry to help the victim’s family apply for state compensation, Alex Huang said.
CAUTION: Taiwanese should be alert, even if they have just liked or shared posts that would breach Beijing’s national security legislation for Hong Kong, the council said Due to the newly implemented Hong Kong national security legislation, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has drawn up a list of what it described as “high-risk groups,” cautioning them not to travel to Hong Kong. People who support independence for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang; those who are critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Hong Kong government and the “one country, two systems” concept; and those who donated to or voiced support for the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill movement are urged to refrain from visiting Hong Kong, the council said on its Web site. It released two posts on
NEW HONG KONG LAW: A visit to Beijing-friendly nations or those with weak judicial systems could leave people at risk of deportation to China, a former MAC official said Beijing could request countries with which it has extradition agreements to deport Taiwanese to China to face criminal charges following the implementation of national security legislation for Hong Kong, a former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official warned yesterday. Some developing countries, and those close to China because of the Belt and Road Initiative, are likely to accommodate Beijing’s requests to extradite Taiwanese to China, said former deputy MAC minister Chen Ming-chi (陳明祺), who served from July 2, 2018, until May 20, and then returned to his former post as an assistant professor of sociology at National Tsing Hua University. While Taiwanese
IN THE PIPELINE: The Ministry of National Defense said the sale, expected to take effect in one month, would be the seventh arms sale under the Trump administration The government yesterday thanked the US for approving the possible sale of a US$620 million missile repair and recertification package to Taiwan. The US Department of State has approved the sale of a package to recertify Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Washington for an estimated US$620 million, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a news release on Thursday. The agency has delivered the required certification to the US Congress, notifying it of the possible sale, it added. The TECRO had requested to buy an upgrade package that would support an operational
INJURED: Several KMT lawmakers fought their way through DPP members into the legislative chamber, while others lay on a driveway to block Chen Chu Scuffles broke out at the Legislative Yuan yesterday as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers again occupied the legislative chamber, stymieing a report by Control Yuan presidential nominee Chen Chu (陳菊) and a question-and-answer session. The KMT lawmakers showed up at the back door of the chamber at about 5am and tried to enter, but were stopped by several Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers who were guarding the door. Scuffles broke out as the KMT lawmakers tried to force their way through the door, injuring legislators on both sides. KMT Legislator Hung Mong-kai (洪孟楷) tackled DPP Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇), while DPP Legislator Wu