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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

MND denies newspaper speculation on military restructuring

ROC Central News Agency

2010/01/04 17:42:45

Taipei, Jan. 4 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) dismissed a report carried in the Liberty Times newspaper Monday on a possible military restructuring, saying that the entire report was groundless and far off-base.

MND officials agreed that overhauling the structure of the military and reshuffling the deployment of the armed forces -- based on the concepts of innovation and asymmetry, using the least resources to produce the highest efficiency -- is the only way to build the armed forces into a "lean and mean" military.

The "lean and mean" strategy has been devised based on the reality of enemy threats and out of consideration of the implementation of a volunteer enlistment system, future warfare methods, pragmatic combat strategies and overall distribution of important national resources, MND officials said.

The Liberty Times speculated that because of the imminent launch of the volunteer enlistment system, the military will be further downsized. It said President Ma Ying-jeou had instructed high-level military brass to come up with plans under which the nation's military strength will be further boosted but with some off-limits military zones released for use by the private sector to help expand economic development.

Some high-level military have suggested that air and naval bases, as well as forces and deployments scattered around Taiwan's west coast, could be moved to the east coast so that the vacated land could be rezoned for private, commercial or industrial use, according to the daily.

In addition, some military strategists have suggested that the outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu be remodeled as military training centers so that existing military training camps elsewhere can be vacated.

Yet others have suggested that the armed forces posted on the outlying island of Penghu can be withdrawn back to Taiwan proper and instead, Penghu can be made into a bastion exclusively for the Marine Corps, which could more quickly reinforce Kinmen and Matsu in the event of a military attack, according to the newspaper.

Also that day, the Apple Daily newspaper speculated that there will be a slowdown in U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, a development that might adversely affect Taiwan's combat capabilities.

The MND dismissed that report also, saying that there has been no vacillation in U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and that sales procedures have been carried out according to schedule and without snags.

(By Sinyao Shih and Deborah Kuo) ENDITEM/J

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