Two Perry-class frigates to be acquired from the US should not have their names changed, despite calls to name them after naval heroes instead of Qing Dynasty officials, Minister of National Defense Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) said yesterday.
The two decommissioned US Perry-class frigates, the Mingchuan and Fengjia, are to be transferred to the Republic of China Navy next month.
Former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration named the two vessels after poet Chiu Feng-jia (丘逢甲), who led the resistance against Japan following the Qing Dynasty’s cession of Taiwan to Japan, and Qing Dynasty governor of Taiwan Liu Ming-chuan (劉銘傳).
At a legislative session, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) criticized the names and said the frigates should be named after naval heroes to inspire officers and sailors.
“The US names destroyers and frigates after naval heroes and Taiwan should do the same to commemorate valor,” Tsai said. “However, neither Liu nor Chiu had a naval background.”
The two frigates should be named after admirals Chen Ching-kun (陳慶?) and Liang Tien-chia (梁天价), who were awarded the Order of Blue Sky and White Sun with Grand Cordon, the nation’s second-highest military award, Tsai said.
In April 1949, when the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was about to lose the Chinese Civil War, Chen, defying his commander’s decision to surrender, led a group of vessels to break through a blockade by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on the Yangtze River near Nanjing and traveled to Shanghai.
In May 1954, Liang led a combat vessel to help intelligence officers and US military advisers to withdraw from an island off the coast of China’s Zhejiang Province as the PLA was about to invade the island.
Liang’s ship was confronted by 10 PLA Navy vessels, but he completed the evacuation.
“None of the navy’s vessels are named after the nation’s naval heroes,” Tsai said, adding that Chen and Liang are the only people to receive the medal since the KMT retreated to Taiwan.
“As we are trying to boost the morale of the armed forces, naming the ships after naval heroes is meaningful,” he said.
Feng said that the naming of the two frigates should not be changed, because the decision of the navy and former ministers should be respected.
“The matter was decided and even a minister could not change it,” Feng said.
The nation is to build a number of new vessels under the government’s policy to develop an indigenous defense industry, and the ministry would adopt Tsai’s suggestions on the naming of those ships, Feng said.
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