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President continues to push for defense autonomy amid controversy

2017/11/22 22:39:04

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)/CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 22 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) commented on a controversial warship contract scandal Wednesday, saying that she hoped the military would learn from its mistakes and continue to invest in locally made naval ships in order to promote defense autonomy.

In a video message posted on the Presidential Office's website and her Facebook page, Tsai said that as commander-in-chief, she was asking the Taiwan military to face up to its errors and correct them.

She was referring to the alleged involvement of navy officers in fraud allegations against the financially troubled Ching Fu Shipbuilding Co. (CFS).

Earlier in the day, penalties were handed down by the Ministry of National Defense on 23 military officers, who allegedly failed to report irregularities on a CFS shipbuilding contract.

The Taiwanese military must learn from its mistakes and continue to invest in local shipbuilding so as to achieve the goal of defense autonomy, Tsai said in her video address.

While that might be a difficult goal, it is one that must be attained, therefore, the government will continue its push for Taiwan to build its own naval vessels, Tsai said.

"I believe that with the right direction and determination, the goal of locally built naval ships will be achieved," Tsai said.

CFS is under investigation for allegedly using bogus documents to try to secure a NT$20.5 billion loan from a group of domestic banks.

The Navy has been involved in a controversial payment of NT$2.4 billion to CFS in December, 2016.

(By Yeh Su-ping and Kuan-lin Liu)