President rejects report about possible military personnel change
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, March 4 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian denied Tuesday he has any plans to replace Chief of the General Staff Huo Shou-yeh.
Chen was pointing to a report published Monday by the United Daily News that he was planning to appoint Armed Forces Reserve Command Commanding-General Yu Lien-fa to take over the position within this week.
Dismissing the report as "totally unfactual, " Chen said Huo has performed excellently in the position and that he has full trust in Huo.
Chen stressed he will not make any adjustment to the position before he steps down in May and urged the military not to believe in any such rumors.
In addition, the president condemned the media outlet and "ill-intentioned persons" responsible for circulating the rumors.
Chen made the clarification during a ceremony in which he conferred the rank of Army second-class general on Yang Tien-hsiao, who was previously a lieutenant-general. Yang has recently been promoted to the position of chief of the General Political Warfare Bureau.
On the upcoming presidential election, Chen reminded military personnel to remain neutral politically and fulfill their duty to defend the country.
Noting that March 13, 2008 will mark the third anniversary of the enactment of China's Anti-Secession Law targeting Taiwan, Chen said the military should ensure their combat readiness and strengthen their ability to respond to emergencies in the face of China's increasing military threat and intimidation against Taiwan.
To beef up the country's defense capabilities and speed up military modernization, the government has earmarked a defense budget of NT$349.5 billion this year, marking the first time the budget has reached 3 percent of Taiwan's gross domestic product, the president said.
(By Y.F. Low)
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