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Taiwan to closely monitor China's military development

Central News Agency

2015/09/03 15:56:17

Taipei, Sept. 3 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense said Thursday that it will continue to closely follow the development of China's military might after Beijing announced at a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II that it will cut troop levels.

China has a 2.26 million-strong military, and its plan to cut troop levels by 300,000 follows other advanced countries' experience in reformatting ground forces to improve the efficiency of combat operations, the ministry said.

But noting the lack of China's transparency in its military development, the ministry said that "it is necessary to closely monitor follow-up developments."

Speaking during Thursday's military parade -- said to be the biggest display of China's military might -- at Tiananmen Square in commemoration of the victory over Japan in the war, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) announced that China will downsize its troop strength by 300,000.

Xi gave no timeframe for the cut, foreign media reported.

Upon learning the news, Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) of the ruling Kuomintang warned that China will pose a greater threat to Taiwan and the Asia-Pacific region following its plan to cut troop number.

Under the plan to downsize its military, China seems very likely to cut the size of its army, which is 1.24 million-strong currently, Lin said in a statement.

This, however, does not mean a diminishing threat from China's military might, because it will be able to redirect its resources toward strengthening its air force, navy and strategic missile forces, which will in turn bolster the military's overall combat capabilities, Lin said.

He cited as an example the fact that the number of personnel in China's Second Artillery Corps -- which controls China's ballistic and conventional missiles -- had increased from 140,000 in 2013 to more than 150,000 as of the end of 2014, along with the development of 1,700 ballistic and cruise missiles.

Commenting on the parade, which showcased many indigenous weapons systems, the Defense Ministry said China's military buildup has become an issue that has drawn the world's attention. It predicted that Beijing will continue its efforts to build up its military might despite the cut in troop number.

In the face of China's continued military buildup, the ministry said it will continue to build a military force that is "small but elite, small but skillful, and small but strong," in line with the concept of innovative, asymmetric warfare, to achieve the goal of avoiding war and maintaining stability in the region.

Taiwan is pushing for another plan to cut the number of its troops to between 170,000 and 190,000, from a current military of about 215,000 strong. This is part of the military's response measures to the type of combat operations of the future and the deployment of high-tech weapons systems that will allow the military to cut its personnel.

(By Elaine Hou)

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