Mon, May 26, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Retired generals defy ministry in cross-strait visit

UNIFIED OR UNITED?The MND apparently tried to get the former generals to cancel their trip to China, where they reportedly held talks on military trust issues

By Lo Tien-pin  /  Staff reporter

Special forces soldiers conduct skills training during a press conference in Taipei’s Liberty Square on June 9 last year to promote the first showing of the Discovery Channel series on the nation’s special forces.

Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times

More than 20 retired generals last month traveled to China to meet with their former Chinese counterparts and current government officials, despite the Ministry of National Defense (MND) and the Vocational Assistance Commission for Retired Service’s efforts to dissuade them from taking the trip, military sources said.

Generals Cheng Ting-chung (陳廷寵) and Li Chen-lin (李楨林), and former commander-in-chief of the Republic of China Army Huang Hsing-chiang (黃幸強) led the group to attend the sixth edition of a cross-strait retired generals festival in Foshan City, Guangdong Province, the sources said.

The festival is part of a series of events marking the 90th anniversary of the Whampoa Military Academy (黃埔軍校), the Republic of China Military Academy’s predecessor.

The academy was established in 1924 in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province. It produced many elite military officers who fought in the eight-year Second Sino-Japanese War.

Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) re-established the academy in Greater Kaohsiung’s Fengshan District (鳳山) after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government retreated to Taiwan after the Chinese Civil War.

Its alumni include former Chinese vice premier Lin Biao (林彪) and former Chinese premier Zhou Enlai (周恩來).

Anonymous military officials said that at the festival last month, the retired generals discussed with their Chinese counterparts issues concerning a cross-strait military confidence-building mechanism.

During the talks, some members of the Taiwanese delegation said that only after such a mechanism is establish will both sides have the space in which to conduct political negotiations and perhaps sign political agreements.

The sources said that the ministry and the commission tried several times to persuade the generals to not take the trip so as to avoid making pro-unification implications.

While the groups that received the Taiwanese delegation brand themselves as civic organizations, they are supported by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and China’s United Front Work Department, the sources said.

In related developments, the ministry said it is to mark the 90th anniversary of the Whampoa Military Academy with a series of events this month and next month.

As part of the celebrations, the Republic of China Military Academy is to open its campus to the public on Friday, while the Thunder Tiger Aerobatics Team and the army’s Airborne Brigade Sky Diving Team will perform a show, the ministry said.

In addition, advanced weapon systems, including the Thunderbolt-2000 RT/LT-2000 and PAC-3 launcher system, are to be displayed at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall’s Liberty Square in Taipei on June 7, while an exhibition of historical relics and documents from the Whampoa Military Academy will be held at the Military Historical Relic Museum in Taipei on June 13, it added.

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