Tue, Jan 09, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Use fast rail for military: DPP

TRAIN TROOPERS A group of lawmakers want the government to be able to use the high-speed rail to move soldiers around the country in the face of any Chinese threat

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday submitted a proposal that would enable the government to commandeer the high-speed rail in the event of an emergency and use it to deploy military forces.

"We suggest that the government propose an amendment to the National Defense and Mobilization Act (全民防衛動員準備法) to include high-speed rail as a means of transportation that the government can use in an emergency," DPP lawmakers said in a press release.

The lawmakers are to bring up a non-binding resolution on the matter in the legislature, noting that the idea came from "some high-level officials" in the military.

The proposal would allow the transportation of the armed forces from the south to the north in the event China launched a "decapitation strike" against the government, DPP Legislator Chai Trong-rong (蔡同榮) said.

"Just as the military has signed a deal with the Taiwan Railway Administration, in which some of its weapons could be shipped by rail in emergency, the high-speed rail should be incorporated into the emergency plan," Tsai said.

The People's Liberation Army is likely to attempt a "decapitation strike" in the event of a conflict, and Taiwan has to make preparations for such an attack, DPP Legislator Sandy Yen (莊和子) said.

If the amendment passes in the legislature, the lawmakers said that the military could consider establishing military facilities near the six high-speed stations in Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan and Kaohsuing, where rapid reaction forces could be deployed.

"Given that part of the military's land forces are distributed in central and southern Taiwan, they can't support military forces stationed in northern Taiwan in an emergency without speedy transportation," DPP Legislator Hsueh Ling (薛凌) said.

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