Thu, Dec 25, 2008 - Page 3 News List

Ma presides over live-fire exercise

COMBAT READYMa said he would not rule out holding peace talks with China, but in the meantime the military had to be ready and able to defend Taiwan


President Ma Ying-jeou addresses a group of military officers while wearing a helmet during a live-fire drill at Paolishan, Pingtung County, yesterday.


President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday he would not rule out holding peace talks with China, but stressed that Taiwan must boost its defenses in any event.

Ma made the statement after supervising a military drill in Pingtung County, the first war game he has presided over since taking office on May 20.

A total of 1,686 troops took part in the live-fire drill, which simulated Taiwanese troops repelling enemy attempts to make an amphibious landing.

Dozens of F-16 fighter jets, OH-58D helicopters and AH-1W attack helicopters took part in the drill.

“Holding this drill shows that, despite improving cross-strait ties, our combat readiness has not slackened,” Ma said. “We are against war, but are not afraid of war. We prepare for war, but will not start a war. In future, we do not rule out holding peace talks with China. However, Taiwan will not hold peace talks because of fear, but from a position of strength.”

The military hold war games at least once a year to prepare for a Chinese attack.

Last week, Minister of National Defense Chen Chao-min (陳肇敏) confirmed that the military had decided to stage its major war game — the Han Kuang Exercises — every two years instead of annually. He said the time between Han Kuang Exercises was too short, making it difficult for the military to have adequate time to correct and adjust the shortcomings of the previous drill.

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