Wed, Sep 22, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Give up milk tea, save up for weapons, MND urges

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday issued its new publicity material to lobby support from legislators for the government's arms procurement budget, appealing to the public to cut back on one cup of milk tea per week so the government can pay for the arms procurement budget. The plea implies that the government may raise taxes to pay for the arms deal.

Led by Political Warfare Department Director-General Chen Pan-chih (陳邦治), the ministry organized a "creativity task force" to develop the idea of producing publicity material for the public and Legislative Yuan. The task force also consulted with experts from the advertising sector over the past few months. They tried to adopt a friendly style of communication to persuade people to support the ministry's NT$610 billion arms procurement budget, Chen said.

"If everyone in the country saves their money and cuts back on one cup of milk tea per week, then the government will have enough money to buy advanced weapons to defend the nation," publicity material said.

The material also stated funding the budget could be completed within 15 years, which means that the government only has to submit a budget of NT$33 billion per year. Aside from the public, the ministry sent pamphlets to all legislators. Opposition legislators yesterday afternoon immediately spoke out against the bill.

"Contrary to the ministry's new publicity ad," said Chinese Nationalist Party Legislator Lu Hsiou-yan (盧秀燕), "we want to appeal to the public to abandon the idea of saving for the arms procurement budget to ensure the next generation has money for milk."

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) urged the public to support the idea, saying that tense cross-strait relations made it necessary for the people of the country should unite and defend the country.

Premier Yu Shyi-kun and Minister of National Defense Lee Jye (李傑) both said yesterday at the Legislative Yuan during the question and answer session.

They stated Taiwan must arm itself so it will have the leverage necessary to negotiate with other countries regard security matters.

"We are trying to be like the porcupine, which does not attack others but arms itself to counter an enemy attack," Lee said.

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