Lawmakers across party lines yesterday lashed out at a retired general for allegedly suggesting that the Republic of China (ROC) Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) be called “China’s army.”
Taiwanese media, citing a Chinese media report quoting PLA Major General Luo Yuan (羅援), said a Taiwanese speaker recently told a gathering of retired generals from both sides of the Strait in China: “From now on, we should no longer separate the ROC Army and the PLA. We are all China’s army.”
The report identified the speaker as former ROC Air Force General Hsia Ying-chou (夏瀛洲).
Photo: Lo Tien-pin, Taipei Times
The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday issued a statement saying it had checked with Hsia, who said the media report was “not factual.”
The statement said the ministry had never authorized any group or individual to discuss, exchange views or speak with China on its behalf, adding that any comments made by individuals were said in a “private” capacity.
Hsia’s denial did little to appease lawmakers, with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus demanding the resignation of Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) and Political Warfare Department Acting Director General Wang Ming-wo (王明我), saying they had “failed to set clear rules on military personnel exchanges with China.”
KMT caucus whip Hsieh Kuo--liang (謝國樑) said the reported comments had “seriously damaged the country’s dignity.”
Although retired generals are not banned from visiting China, the ministry must ensure that their statements and actions in China “meet public expectations,” Kao said.
KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said Hsia should apologize to the public and the Taiwanese military if the reports were true.
Wu added that statutory rules were needed to ban retired military officers from engaging or attending military-related exchanges or forums in China.
Wang, however, expressed reservations about formally banning cross-strait exchanges of military officers.
“The MND never authorizes any groups to attend these exchange activities,” Wang said.
He added that under current rules, retired military officers are not barred from making statements or attending cross-strait military exchange activities and are not subject to punishment as long as they do not disclose classified information.
Dissatisfied with Wang’s answer, Hsieh said the ministry, including Kao, should be held responsible if it failed to address the problem.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers questioned whether Hsia should continue receiving pension benefits as mandated by law, which amounts to about NT$170,000 a month.
If the allegations were true, the government should consider whether it is right that the retired general, “a person who wants to be a part of the Chinese army,” deserves to continue receiving money from Taiwanese taxpayers, DPP Legislator Wong Chin-chu (翁金珠) said.
DPP Legislator Tsai Huang--liang (蔡煌瑯) said retired generals who had traveled to China are “traitors who wished they were communists.”
The DPP caucus said the caucus was also considering amending the law to prevent retired senior officers from imitating the behavior of those retired generals, which they said had “impacted on Taiwan’s security.”
Replying to media questions on the sidelines of an industrial forum in Taipei, Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said he found Hsia’s alleged remarks unacceptable, adding that they “were inconsistent with the fundamental policy of the Republic of China.”
HIGH-RISK GROUP: After the latest outbreak, family members of workers exposed to infection would from tomorrow be eligible for government-funded vaccines The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four local COVID-19 cases: three family members of an infected worker at a quarantine hotel and a family member of an infected pilot. The new cases bring the number of infections involving China Airlines Ltd (中華航空) pilots and the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport hotel, where many of the airline’s crew members quarantined, to 24. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said three of them are the husband, son and daughter of case No. 1,129, a woman in her 60s, who works at the hotel. The son is in
NEXT STEP? The contract chipmaker said it would decide whether to add more plants based on operation efficiency, cost economics and demand Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is planning to build several more chipmaking fabs in the US state of Arizona beyond the one already planned, three people familiar with the matter said. TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, announced in May last year that it would build a US$12 billion fab in Arizona. The 12-inch wafer fab in Phoenix is expected to start mass production in 2024, the Investment Commission said in December, when it approved the plan. Three sources familiar with the matter, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media, said that up
VIRUS CURBS: Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan is banned until May 17, the CECC announced The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday banned visits to patients or residents at healthcare and long-term care facilities in three cities until May 17. It also reported six imported cases of COVID-19 and two cases with unclear infection sources. As the number of locally transmitted cases rises, some of whom have visited many places in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan, enhanced disease prevention measures have to be implemented in the three cities, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. “Visiting people staying at healthcare and long-term care facilities in Taipei, New Taipei City and
TAKING NOTICE: In the first time that G7 foreign ministers have mentioned Taiwan in a joint communique, they called for ‘peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait’ The Presidential Office yesterday thanked the G7 foreign ministers for their strong support of Taiwan after the group in its joint statement on Wednesday called for the nation’s participation in the WHO, and the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The ministers in a communique issued at the end of their three-day meeting declared support for “Taiwan’s meaningful participation” in WHO forums and the World Health Assembly (WHA). “The international community should be able to benefit from the experience of all partners, including Taiwan’s successful contribution to the tackling of the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said. The statement included a section