President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday that “national defense” should not be entirely in the category of military affairs, because improvements in cross-strait relations, trade and investment, as well as cultural and educational exchanges, could all be seen as “implicit tactics in national defense.”
Such matters could be considered invisible security assurances, Ma said in a speech on his ideas for military strategy.
Establishing a small yet strong and skilled military force has been a steadfast target of Taiwan’s military preparations, Ma added.
The president said the government would continue efforts to reinforce military preparedness, but added that strength and resources must be spent wisely. Ma also said Taiwan should draw an alternative line of defense in the Taiwan Strait. The country should try to “make the other side [of the Taiwan Strait] resolve cross-strait disputes without having to think of using non-peaceful options,” he said.
That way, Ma said, Taiwan could achieve what Sunzi (孫子), an ancient Chinese military strategist, said in his famous work, The Art of War, that “the highest form of generalship is to balk the enemy’s plans; the next-best is to prevent the junction of the enemy’s forces; the next in order is to attack the enemy’s army in the field; and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities.”
Ma was addressing a dinner banquet held at the Ministry of National Defense to celebrate the Lunar New Year holidays. He also reminded military officers and soldiers to strictly uphold discipline during the holiday period.