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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Military urged to prepare for disaster relief operations

ROC Central News Agency

2009/09/21 16:05:23

By Maubo Chang

Taipei, Sept. 21 (CNA) The armed forces may earn greater public respect by engaging in disaster relief operations, Chen C. V. president of the Red Cross Society of the Republic of China said Sunday.

Chen, who has led many rescue efforts by the Red Cross in the wake of disasters in Taiwan, said on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the 1999 earthquake that the huge defense budget for the procurement of weaponry such as U.S.-made Apache attack helicopters is a waste.

"Valuable financial resources should not be used to acquire weapons we would seldom use. The funds would be better spent on social services, education, medical care and the judiciary." Chen said.

"The defense budget should be allocated to develop weaponry ourselves that would best meet our needs and to upgrade the armed forces disaster preparedness and rescue equipment," he added.

It is not unusual to deploy the military for rescue work, Chen said, citing the example of Japan which ordered its defense forces to help with the rescue and relief operations immediately after the 1996 Kobe earthquake.

"Taiwan may not necessarily face wars in the future, but it is sure to encounter other disasters, and the armed forces will have opportunities to put their rescue and relief skills to use." Chen said.

The purpose of the military is to protect the safety of the people and their property, and by joining disaster relief operations, the armed forces can serve their purpose and earn greater public respect, he said.

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