President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday paid a visit to troops based in Alishan, Chiayi County, and Nantou County yesterday morning ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays.
Ma said that many members of the armed forces would not be able to return home for the New Year celebrations, as they will have to remain on duty in the remote parts of the country.
“Taiwan is lucky to have you,” Ma said, adding that their spirit and loyalty have been and always will be respected by the Taiwanese.
“Although more than a third of you will not be able to go home for one of the most important celebrations in Chinese culture, I have no doubt that your loved ones will be proud of you,” Ma said.
After the visit, Ma returned to Taipei for lunch at the Ministry of National Defense, where he encouraged military personnel to defend the country by any means necessary.
“When it comes to national defense, as long as it works, we should do it,” Ma said.
He said that the defense of the nation would always be the military’s main goal, but that it should not provoke the enemy.
Ma said that his aim was to maintain the “status quo” in the Taiwan Strait and this policy had been welcomed by many foreign governments over the past eight months. The military should do whatever it takes to assure the peace between Taiwan and China, he said.
“No matter whether it’s done the hard way or the easy way,” Ma said.
The president said he would like to remind the military that the purpose of national defense was to stop wars, not start them.
“Taiwan’s remarkable economic growth and democracy rely on solid national defense,” Ma said. “We need to make sure that this defense continues, so we can carry on with our contribution to our country."