Tue, Nov 13, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Defense official confident US military ties are strong

STABLE:Major weapons procurements from the US, worth US$18 billion in the past few years, remain an important way of ‘preventing war,’ the defense chief said

By J. Michael Cole  /  Staff reporter

“I heard some of these comments during my visit to Washington, but from the US government’s point of view, they are very much interested in improving ties with Taiwan,” he said.

“As far as I can see, I don’t think the US is unintentionally pushing Taipei towards Beijing,” Yang said, adding it would be “pretty bad” for the US and the region if Taiwan and China unified or drew strategically closer, because Washington would lose the trust of its Asia partners.

Turning to the ministry’s ongoing efforts to create armed forces made up entirely of volunteers by 2015, Yang said the nation faces a lot of challenges, but said the legislature had released the finances necessary to carry out the transformation.

Recruitment is scheduled to commence in January, with the number of soldiers dropping from 210,000 at present to 190,000 by 2015 and with no further plans for reduction following that drop, he said.

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