Taiwan will not dispense with defense force: premier
ROC Central News Agency
By Elizabeth Hsu
Taipei, Oct. 21 (CNA) Even if Taiwan signs a peace pact with China amid easing of tensions across the Taiwan Strait, the country should still maintain a strong national defense force, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan said Tuesday.
Liu made the comment while answering questions at an interpellation session at the Legislative Yuan on President Ma Ying-jeou's statement a few days ago that he will seek to forge a peace accord with China during his term in office.
Legislator Hsueh Ling of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) asked why the Ministry of National Defense (MND) had budgeted over NT$300 billion (US$9.18 billion) for arms procurement, if a peace pact would ensure that there would be no war in the Taiwan Strait.
"Why not just dismantle all Taiwan's military and defense forces?" Hsueh asked.
In response, Liu said that currently the two sides are moving toward peace. However, Taiwan must still have defense budgets and a certain degree of self-defense capability, which means maintaining an adequate defense force, he added.
Meanwhile, in response to an incident in which Zhang Mingqing, vice president of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), was allegedly knocked over by anti-China protesters in Tainan earlier in the day, Liu said the Executive Yuan denounced any acts of violence.
With the incident triggering concerns over the safety of ARATS President Chen Yunlin when he visits Taiwan in late November or early December, Liu gave the assurance that the Executive Yuan will do its best to ensure Chen's safety.
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