Wed, Dec 26, 2018 - Page 3 News List

President calls for innovation in the armed services to safeguard Taiwan

Staff writer, with CNA

Military officers stand at attention at a promotion ceremony at the Armed Forces Officers’ Club in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday called on the armed forces to be innovative in beefing up the nation’s defense capabilities amid rising challenges from China as she promoted 26 senior military officers, including her first promotion of a female general.

In her address at a ceremony in Taipei, Tsai said that everyone serving in the military needed to be on high alert as Beijing has undertaken a series of actions aimed at jeopardizing Taiwan’s sovereignty that have escalated regional tensions.

Some of the Chinese actions over the past few years that have targeted Taiwan have involved new types of non-military security threats, including attempts to undermine Taiwan’s democracy by spreading fake news through social media, Tsai said.

Facing such growing challenges from the other side of the Taiwan Strait, the armed forces have to continue to build up the nation’s defensive capabilities using more innovative measures, she said.

To achieve that goal and maintain a strong national defense posture, the military would have to continue to invest in indigenous weapons systems and improve the quality of its troops, she added.

A source familiar with the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology earlier this month quoted Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) as saying that the institute could see its business next year exceed NT$50 billion (US$1.62 billion).

National defense spending is entering a peak period, with new indigenous military jet and warship programs set to begin next year, the source said.

Yesterday’s ceremony celebrated the promotion of eight officers to the rank of lieutenant general or vice admiral, while 18 were promoted to major general or rear admiral.

The promotions are to take effect next month.

Among the 18 officers in the second group was Ku Li-tu (辜麗都), head of the Matsu Defense Command’s political warfare section, who was promoted to major general.

She became Taiwan’s third active female general and the first woman to gain that rank since Tsai assumed office in May 2016.

A graduate of the Political Warfare Academy in 1990, Ku had previously served as the political warfare section chief in the army’s Taichung-based 58th Artillery Command.

She also set a milestone in that post, becoming the first female to serve as the head of a political warfare section of any combat unit in the nation’s history.

The other two senior female officers serving in the nation’s military are Major General Chen Yu-lin (陳育琳) of the Sixth Army Corps and Major General Chang Te-lan (張德蘭) of the National Security Bureau.

This story has been corrected since it was first published.

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