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DEFENSE MINISTER REMINDS MILITARY MEMBERS TO STAY OUT OF POLITICS

Taipei, Oct. 6 (CNA) Minister of National Defense Lee Jye has again reminded all military personnel, regardless of their rank, position and pay level, to stay out of politics in accordance with constitutional provisions.
Lee issued the call while addressing a ceremony at the Ministry of National Defense Thursday in celebration of the country's Double Ten National Day.
The appeal came amid turmoil arising from an anti-corruption campaign aimed at pressuring President Chen Shui-bian to resign over alleged corruption scandals. Sporadic clashes between Chen's opponents and faithfuls have been reported at rival street rallies in some southern cities. The presence of a handful of those in military uniform at anti-Chen rallies has drawn criticism.
Noting that members of the armed forces are required by the Constitution to be above personal, regional and partisan affiliation, and to be loyal to the country and protect the people, Lee said every service member should refrain from taking part in any political activities and should be free of any political interference.
Now that Taiwan is a liberal democracy, Lee said, all military personnel should uphold the rule of law and stay out of politics.
"All men and women in uniform should dedicate themselves to serving the country and the people and transcend partisan affiliations while working to uplift military professionalism and hone their combat skills.
In another news development, the MND declined to make any comment Thursday on a media report that progress has been made on a mid-life upgrade project for the locally developed Ching-kuo indigenous defense fighters (IDF).
According to a Chinese-language Liberty Times report, an upgraded version of the IDF fighters, equipped with fuel tanks for in-flight refueling, has been developed and has undergone test flights.
Responding to the report, MND spokesman Wu Chi-fang said the IDF mid-life upgrade program, code-named "Project Shiang Sheng, " is a classified program aimed at upgrading the IDF fighter's performance.
"The project is still ongoing, and the ministry is not in a position to elaborate on its implementation," Wu said.
Military sources said the military-run Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology has developed know-how for the IDF mid-life upgrade and commissioned the state-owned Aerospace Industrial Development Corp. to undertake the project.
The primary objective of the project is to improve the strike capability of the IDF, turning it into the so-called "joint countermeasures platform" as a part of the new strategy to "conduct decisive battles outside the territory," the sources said.
(By Sofia Wu) enditem/Li


Updated : 2021-04-23 16:26 GMT+08:00