Strong defense, not compromise, key to defending ROC: Tsai

12/24/2019 04:44 PM
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Taipei, Dec. 24 (CNA) Strong and unwavering national defense, not making compromises, is the key to defending the country, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Tuesday as she promoted 20 senior military personnel in Taipei.

In her address during the conferral ceremony, the president said China has continued to pressure Taiwan on various fronts, namely, isolating the country internationally, intensifying military threats, and infiltrating the nation's politics, in an attempt to divide Taiwan.

Facing increasing threats from Beijing, all Taiwanese need to unite now more than ever, she said.

"This is because safeguarding the Republic of China is never about making compromises, but depending on strong and unwavering national defense," she stressed.

Although Tsai did not elaborate on what she considered to be "making compromises," she was likely referring to the long-term support of the Kuomintang (KMT), the country's main opposition party, for the "1992 consensus" as a basis for cross-strait relations.

According to the KMT, the consensus refers to a tacit understanding reached in 1992 between the then-KMT government and the Chinese government that there is only "one China," with each side free to interpret what "China" means.

During a televised platform presentation on Dec. 18, President Tsai said the "1992 consensus" was "a mere illusion" because China does not recognize the second part of the formula.

Beijing has taken a hardline stance on cross-strait relations since Tsai of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) assumed office in May 2016 and refused to accept the "1992 consensus."

In Tuesday's address, Tsai said since she took office, her administration has demonstrated its determination to defend the country by conducting military reforms for the benefit of Taiwanese servicemen and women.

The administration has also launched indigenous military aircraft and submarine projects and persuaded the U.S. to sell F-16V fighters and M1A2 tanks sales to the country, she continued, adding that these efforts will help to build a stronger military that is trusted by Taiwanese nationals.

Tsai made the comments during the conferral ceremony that saw five officers promoted to the rank of two-star general or lieutenant-general and vice admirals, with a further 15 elevated to the rank of one-star general or major-general and rear admiral, according to the defense ministry.

The promoted senior officers come from the Army, Navy, Air Force and National Security Bureau, and their promotions will officially take effect next month, the ministry said.

(By Matt Yu and Joseph Yeh)

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