Tue, Oct 17, 2017 - Page 3 News List

All-volunteer military will not ensure safety: groups

By Jonathan Chin  /  Staff writer, with CNA

World United Formosans for Independence chairman Chen Nan-tien at a news conference in Taipei yesterday calls on the government to reinstate the military draft.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

The government should maintain conscription, pro-independence groups said yesterday, adding that the all-volunteer force scheduled to be implemented next year will not keep the nation safe.

World United Formosans for Independence (WUFI) and the Taiwan Radical Wings Party (TRWP) jointly held a press event, titled “Observations on the Taiwan Crisis.”

Taiwan is in a crisis because its government and public are too complacent to be conscious of the Chinese military threat, WUFI chairman Chen Nan-tien (陳南天) said.

An all-volunteer military is not a viable policy in light of the nation’s conflicted identity, but politicians are too fearful of losing votes to tackle the nation’s need for the military draft, Chen said.

President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration must reject exchanges with China that are harmful to Taiwan’s economic, social, national and political safety, TRWP chairman Chen Yi-chi (陳奕齊) said.

The plan for an all-volunteer military by next year was made under former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration and since then, rapid demographic change has rendered the plan inadequate to keep the nation safe, Chen said.

Tsai should start repairing the damage done to Taiwan’s defensive capabilities as the government experiments with an all-volunteer military and should adjust her national defense policy accordingly, Chen said.

“A reinstitution of the draft will announce Taiwan’s determination to defend itself and to correct the image that Taiwan lacks the will to defend itself,” Chen said.

Implementing an all-volunteer force next year is demographically and technically unfeasible, TRWP Central Standing Committee member Ho Chen-hui (何澄輝) said,

Resuming military conscription would be symbolic and serve as a statement, Ho added.

Sweden has reintroduced conscription for both sexes after temporarily abolishing the system and military service is now mandatory, a system that Norway has had for much longer, Ho said.

Sweden and Norway are progressive, stable and peaceful nations that actively seeks international support, but they still take national security seriously and display the will to defend themselves, Ho said, adding that Taiwan should emulate Sweden’s and Norway’s spirit, which is the best guarantor of peace and security.

China’s intention to annex Taiwan would not change after the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party that is set to begin tomorrow, Ho said, adding that so much was evident from Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) aggressive stance in East China Sea, South China Sea and other points of conflict on China’s periphery.

Beijing’s policy is to pressure the US into dividing the Asia-Pacific region into spheres of influence, he added.

“Taiwan should demonstrate the will necessary for self-defense and the preservation of its dignity, instead of begging China to resume dialogue for the sake of an illusory peace,” the TRWP said.

“The US government cautioning Taiwan about the shortfalls of the all-volunteer force plan is a signal that our will for self-defense is being questioned,” it added.

“A demonstration of Taiwan’s will for self-defense is a fundamental precondition before we can speak of seeking help from other nations,” it said.

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