The security of a nation cannot merely guaranteed by establishing a military force, but most importantly, by the consolidated support and commitment from the people. In order to improve the transparency of national defense affairs, the MND has published the National Defense Report on a regular basis to elaborate its national defense concepts and policy implementation performance. It is hoped that through the Report, the people may fully comprehend current national defense policies, step forward to participate in the buildup of our national defense, and thus forge a common consensus for all-out defense.
In the past 2 years, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been continuously increasing its military strength and attempting to break through the current US-led Asia Pacific security framework by efforts such as establishing the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and expanding island reclamation in the South China Sea. Additionally, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been pursuing unabated preparations against Taiwan despite easing tensions across the Taiwan Strait, and continuing to carry out targeted exercises while deploying over a thousand short- and medium-range ballistic missiles along the coastal areas facing the Taiwan Strait. Hence, the PRC remains the greatest threat to our national security, tilts regional military balance, and poses a grave challenge to the regional stability.
Under the Hard ROC national security guidance of President Ma, the MND has pooled defense resources in building armed force capabilities that aiming at interdicting enemies as they are crossing the Taiwan Strait and preventing them from disembarking. Accordingly, the MND has acquired the AH-64E helicopters. The newly procured UH-60M helicopters, P-3C anti-submarine aircraft and Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile systems have been arriving on schedule. Furthermore, the ROC Air Force has been upgrading F-16 and IDF fighters, while the Tuo Chiang class corvette and Panshi Fast Combat Support Ship have been successfully delivered to the ROC Navy following the policy of constructing naval vessels indigenously. These efforts of national defense policy implementation have improved the developing progress of our defense industries and further upgrade the domestic industrial capabilities to the next level.
In transition to a Volunteer Military System, the MND, in accordance with the Act of Military Service System, has been conscripting young adults born before 1993 to safeguard homeland and ensure national security. I am grateful for the cooperation and support shown by these conscripts and their families. Realistically speaking, no policy can be successfully implemented overnight.
The Volunteer Military System, particularly, is critical to our national security, and has a tremendous scope of impact which can only be diminished by the collaboration of all parties involved. It was indeed not easy for our Armed Forces to achieve quite a recruitment result in just a few years. Currently, legislative procedures have been completed for the Provisional Act for the Implementation of the Volunteer Military System that is critical to volunteer force recruitment efforts. We believe that with improved emphasis on the pay, dignity and future career prospects for service members, the Volunteer Military System will be more thorough and complete, and the transition will be more smooth and successful.
The ROC Armed Forces have also reaped substantive results in combat readiness exercises, disaster prevention and relief, and professional education and training. In particular, at the scene of every major disaster, such as the recent Typhoon Soudelor, TransAsia Airways Flight 222 crash at Penghu Islands, TransAsia Airways Flight 235 crash at Keelung River, and the Kaohsiung gas explosions, units of the ROC Armed Forces could always be spotted committing fully to disaster relief operations. In the future, the ROC Armed Forces shall continue to improve their overall disaster prevention and relief capabilities and become powerful and elite forces excelled at disaster relief in peacetime and combat operations in wartime, so as to shoulder the greatest responsibility of safeguarding the people's lives and property.
This year marks the 70th Anniversary of Victory in the War of Resistance against Japan. The MND has hosted a series of commemorative events to pay tribute to the brave martyrs who gave their lives to the country, and illustrate the historical significance of the victory. These commemorative events demonstrated the historical fact that the Nationalist Government of the ROC led its military and the people in achieving victory after the 8-year long War of Resistance. In addition, the MND has also held the defense capabilities demonstration, an international seminar, an exhibition detailing the truth of the War, and a musical to help fellow citizens understand the value of peace, and recognize that peace is backed up by credible strength, so as to consolidate our resolves to pursue all-out defense, and ensure the sustainable development of our country.
Finally, I gratefully acknowledge the active participation of the Report's advisory committee members as well as our editorial colleagues. I would also like to express my appreciation for the hard work and contributions of all men and women serving in the ROC Armed Forces whose steadfast dedication to force buildup and combat readiness allowed us to enrich the contents of this Report. I also hope that men and women of the ROC will like to share their ideas with us, continue to care and support for national defense and security affairs, and help the ROC Armed Forces to innovate and progress to become highly trained elite forces with powerful warfighting capabilities that lives up to the expectations of our country and our people.
Minister of National Defense