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Whampoa spirit follows where ROC goes: Lai at centennial

06/16/2024 02:58 PM
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CNA photo June 16, 2024
CNA photo June 16, 2024

Kaohsiung, June 16 (CNA) President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said Sunday that the spirit of "Whampoa" (黃埔), a nickname for the Republic of China (ROC) Military Academy, follows where the ROC goes.

Speaking at the centennial celebrations held at the Kaohsiung-based academy, Lai said that over its 100-year history, the institution has trained thousands of troops who have fought for the nation's survival.

It has also played a critical role in numerous significant battles for the ROC, including defending against Japanese invasions during the period when the ROC was still based in China.

At the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the academy relocated to Taiwan along with the ROC government, Lai said, and it has played a crucial role since then in defending Taiwan, including its offshore islands of Penghu, Matsu, and Kinmen, against attempted invasions by the People's Republic of China (PRC).

In peacetime, ROC armed forces, comprised of many graduates from the academy, have also assisted in search and rescue and relief efforts after major natural disasters.

The Whampoa spirit has since taken deep roots in Taiwan, Lai said.

CNA photo June 16, 2024
CNA photo June 16, 2024
CNA photo June 16, 2024
CNA photo June 16, 2024

Despite the change of time and locations over the past century, the spirit of Whampoa follows where the ROC goes, the president said.

"The 'real Whampoa' fights for the survival and development of the ROC, without that spirit and ambition, it is not the 'real Whampoa' but a 'fake Whampoa,'" Lai said.

Lai also vowed to further strengthen the nation's defensive capabilities while promoting peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

President Lai's address was made as he presided over a round of celebrations held Sunday at the ROC Military Academy to mark the 100th anniversary of its founding.

The academy's centennial celebrations on Sunday morning were held with a large-scale military march featuring more than 2,000 military cadets.

CNA photo June 16, 2024
CNA photo June 16, 2024
CNA photo June 16, 2024
CNA photo June 16, 2024

As part of the march, cadets also dressed in a range of the academy's former uniforms, including those worn when the academy was based in China, to pay tribute to its roots and 100 years of tradition.

Previously known as the Whampoa Military Academy, the military educational institute was founded on June 16, 1924 in Whampoa -- also known as Huangpu, Guangzhou, in China's Guangdong province -- when the ROC government was still based in China.

The academy later relocated to Nanjing and Chengdu. At the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, together with the ROC government, it relocated to Taiwan.

It reopened in 1950 in southern Kaohsiung's Fongshan District under the name of the ROC Military Academy. The original Guangzhou site is now a museum.

Lai's address that focuses on "real and fake Whampoa" was made after the PRC also invited Taiwanese military academy graduates to visit the original site of the Whampoa Academy in Guangzhou to mark its centennial this year.

Ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers have argued that the PRC's invitation to Taiwanese citizens to attend the celebrations in China was a politically motivated move aimed at promoting unification.

CNA photo June 16, 2024
CNA photo June 16, 2024
CNA photo June 16, 2024
CNA photo June 16, 2024

According to Yen De-fa (嚴德發), head of the Veterans Affairs Council (VAC), fewer than 100 ROC veterans were expected to visit China for the Whampoa Military Academy centennial celebrations.

In comparison, Yen said more than 10,000 ROC veterans were expected to attend the Kaohsiung academy centennial celebrations in Taiwan on Sunday.

Sunday's celebrations also saw what could be the last time Taiwanese military cadets march in goose-step as new Defense Minister Wellington Koo (顧立雄) has announced he will discontinue the practice which he sees as ceremonial and not practical.

The Kaohsiung celebrations were joined by special guests, including former ROC Military Academy superintendents, ex-defense ministers, representatives from military academies in allied countries, such as Guatemala and Paraguay, among others.

The academy held an open-house event Sunday afternoon featuring a series of exhibitions on its history and achievements over the past century.

(By Joseph Yeh)

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CNA photo June 16, 2024
CNA photo June 16, 2024
CNA photo June 16, 2024
CNA photo June 16, 2024
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