Fri, Jun 17, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Military distinct from PLA: MND

By Wang Jung-hsiang, Su Yung-yao and Yan Juo-chin  /  Staff Reporters

Trainees from the Republic of China Military Academy march past the command platform during a ceremony in Greater Kaohsiung yesterday, attended by Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu, to mark the academy’s 87th anniversary.

Photo: CNA

Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) departed from his script yesterday during the 87th Anniversary of the Republic of China (ROC) Military Academy yesterday and emphasized that the ROC military and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were two entirely distinct entities.

“The nation's army is the ROC Army, and the PLA is the PLA, a fact that serving or retired officers should all know,” Kao said.

The minister’s comments came in the wake of a recent controversy over comments allegedly made by retired Air Force general Hsia Ying-chou (夏瀛洲) on a visit to China.

According to reports in the local Chinese-language media, Hsia allegedly told a gathering of retired military officers that no distinction should be made between the ROC army and the PLA, as both were “China’s army.”

Hsia has denied ever making such a comment.

Kao commended the long-term contributions of the Military Academy and encouraged students to learn from their predecessors’ spirit of sacrifice and determination to fight, glorifying the spirit of Huangpu, as the Military Academy was known when it was founded in Guangdong Province, China, in May 1924.

Turning to wu de, or martial virtue, Kao said the armed forces must pursue the ideals of defending the country and people, and maintaining social stability, adding that martial virtue was in essence a soldier’s “second life.”

“If the military cannot subscribe to those ideals or even turn its back on them, it not only turns its back on the nation that trained them, but also on the people who put their trust in them, and this will have a deeply negative impact on national security,” Kao said.

Following news of Hsia’s alleged comments, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) ordered a thorough review of regulations over visits to China by retired military officers.

At a routine press conference by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) on Wednesday, Taiwanese media asked whether the Chinese felt the continuation of the controversy over Hsia’s statement could affect military exchanges and mutual trust across the Taiwan Strait.

TAO spokesperson Yang Yi (楊毅) said the “deep exchanges” had increased mutual understanding and promoted peaceful development, which was an important development in relations between the two sides.

However, Yang also said limiting cross-strait exchanges or “actively fanning antagonistic ideologies” — a veiled reference to pro-independence forces in Taiwan — would be detrimental to the “hopes of the people across the Strait” and against the tide of cross-strait development.

It would also be unwise, Yang said.

Commenting on Yang’s remarks, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) accused the TAO of “blatantly carrying out ‘united front’ rhetoric,” adding that the remarks were tantamount to slapping Ma in the face.

DPP Legislator Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) said the TAO’s strong language and assumed suzerainty over Taiwan was completely unacceptable to the DPP and Taiwanese.

Wong said retired generals who used inappropriate language that betrayed the nation and undermined trust in the government would rightly be criticized.

“We have our own stance and the TAO has no right and is in no position to criticize us,” Wong said.


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