Defense minister hoping new reservist training will pay off
New Taipei, March 12 (CNA) Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said Saturday he hoped a new reservist training regimen launched a week ago will boost the country's combat readiness.
The reserve force plays an important part in Taiwan's defense, but the existing training provided is insufficient because it only lasts five to seven days, Chiu said shortly after joining President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in watching reservists conduct a drill at a shooting range at New Taipei's Linkou District.
Reservists in Taiwan have been trained in five to seven day stints, which they undergo four times in their eight years of reservist duty.
Under the new program, they will train for 14 days a time and participate in more intensive drills, but will only have to do so twice every eight years.
The military will monitor the results to see if the new training regimen improves the combat readiness of Taiwan's reservists, as Chiu is hoping.
Saturday's drill, meant to simulate defending a beach against attack, was performed by some of the 400 reservists who started the new 14-day training program on March 6.
Chiu was also asked whether future reservist drills might include the FIM-92 Stinger -- a man-portable air-defense system -- or anti-tank guided missiles, which have reportedly played a critical role in Ukraine's resistance to Russia's invasion of that country.
He sidestepped the question, saying only that the military would consider training with different types of weapons that are available for the military and can contribute to Taiwan's defense.
Tsai said after the drill that the situation in Ukraine showed that in addition to international support and assistance, a country's defense depends on the unity of its people.
She hoped the new training regimen will nurture a stronger sense of unity and responsibility among reservists in protecting their homeland.
The MND plans to have around 15,000 reservists trained under the new regimen at the 24 battalions across Taiwan this year, while another 97,000 reservists will go through the original five-to-seven-day programs, according to the MND.
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