Taiwan’s Defense Ministry Mulls Plan to Downsize Military

Taiwanese Defense Minister Chen Chao-min

Taiwanese Defense Minister Chen Chao-min is reportedly considering plans to cut the Republic of China (Taiwan) military force to about 200,000 to 250,000 in a six year time span, which will require reducing around 6,000 troops each consecutive year (NOWnews [Taiwan], July 1). The plan if carried out will reduce the number of military officers to 40,000 and active duty soldiers to about 80,000, which means a total decrease of about 36,000 to 40,000 military officers and soldiers in the Taiwanese military. The report set off a whirlwind in political circles that centered on the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou’s on-going effort to pursue rapprochement with China, which has been heavily criticized by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party. According to a Taiwanese newspaper, the revelation of the Defense Ministry’s plan follows a below the fray conclusion to the first segment of Taiwan’s annual Han Kuang (Chinese glory) war game simulations that presented a scenario, situated in 2009, that positioned the Taiwanese military as having to battle the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on Taiwanese soil after Taiwan’s air and naval defense are overwhelmed (United Daily News, June 23). The live-fire segment of the Han Kuang exercises will take place in September, a month following the Beijing Olympics.