President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday said that Taiwan would not budge “an inch” on issues of sovereign territory and would stalwartly defend its democratic freedoms.
Tsai made the remarks during an inspection of surface-to-air missiles at an air force base in Hualien.
She was accompanied by National Security Council (NSC) Secretary-General Wellington Koo (顧立雄), Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發), Chief of the General Staff Huang Shu-kuang (黃曙光) and Republic of China Air Force Commander Hsiung Hou-chi (熊厚基).
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau
After attending a briefing, Tsai was given a demonstration of procedures for a missile launch.
Tsai granted the base a one-time subsidy to boost troop morale.
“The most important part of my visit is to thank every one of you, on behalf of Taiwan, for your hard work and dedication,” Tsai said.
The missile units she inspected, while small, had great responsibility, as they are tasked with air defense across northern Taiwan.
They must be combat-ready around the clock and monitor all incoming air traffic, she said, adding that they must be highly adaptable.
Tsai said she is certain that all of the personnel are aware of their responsibility, especially as over the past few days Chinese aircraft have made incursions into Taiwan’s southwestern air defense identification zone.
“It is because of your hard work that our skies remain clear and safe,” Tsai said.
Tsai promised that she would do her best to uphold peace in Taiwan and keep people calm so that professional soldiers would be able to focus on their jobs.
At a Ministry of Justice National Defense Safety Jobs Meeting with Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), Tsai said that the government should adhere to smooth collaboration between the executive and military branches.
The government must identify areas it needs to protect, including the high-tech industry, key infrastructure assets and the nation’s political system, she said.
National security agencies and branches of government must develop a system that will give ample warning of potential problems, which would allow the administration to function in a crisis and to swiftly recover, she said.
The Executive Yuan and the NSC must focus on hiring national security talent, she said.
In related news, a military source said that a reconnaissance vessel of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy had been spotted off the east coast over the past two days.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that military radar detected the vessel about 40 nautical miles (74km) off Hualien County at 4pm on Thursday.
The vessel was seen about 90 nautical miles off Hualien early yesterday, the official said.
It was moving southward, the official said.
The Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology was testing missiles in the area on Wednesday and Thursday.
Additional reporting by Lee Hsin-fang and CNA
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