A legislative reform bill proposed by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators yesterday aims to revive an attempt to merge the military’s four arsenals with the Ministry of National Defense-affiliated Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology.
The legislation aims to amend Article 7 and Item 1, Article 33 of the Act for the Establishment of the National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (國家中山科學研究院設置條例).
As there is no legal basis for the institute to merge, or not merge with other units, the bill aims to amend the act to allow the institute to merge with other institutions to further national defense research and development, as well as to increase its manufacturing and maintenance capabilities.
A successful review of the bill, scheduled for Tuesday next week, would increase the chances of the amendments being passed in the current legislative session, ministry officials said.
With three to six months of preparation, the merger could be completed by the end of this year, they said.
The 202nd Arsenal manufactures mortars; the 205th Arsenal makes rifles and pistols; the 209th Arsenal builds armored vehicles; and the 401st Arsenal fabricates photonic equipment.
In preparation for the merger, Material Production and Manufacturing Center Commander Major General Luo Yi-chung (羅意中) has tendered his resignation and is to be hired by the institute, the ministry said.
The center and four arsenals have a total of about 3,000 employees, including military personnel, civil servants and contractors, it said.
The merger would take into consideration the rights of all those involved, the ministry said, adding that the institute would take over all assets and debts.
In related news, the nation’s embassy in Eswatini yesterday posted a video on Twitter of a ceremony in which Taiwan gifted the African ally two UH-1H helicopters, commemorating their strong ties.
The UH-1H is being phased out by the army, which said that it would keep six of the helicopters after transferring two to Eswatini.
The ceremony, held on Friday last week, was attended by King Mswati III, Swazi National Chief Defense Officer Prince Hlangusempi and Brigadier General Jeffry Tshabalala, as well as Ambassador to Eswatini Jeremy Liang (樑洪昇) and Deputy Minister of National Defense Chang Guan-chung (張冠群).
King Mswati thanked Taiwan for its long-term assistance, saying that the two helicopters would be deployed to Eswatini’s borders or in humanitarian relief missions, the embassy said.
The king also reaffirmed Eswatini’s support for Taiwan’s participation in UN-related activities.
Additional reporting by Peng Wan-hsin
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