Taipei, June 26 (CNA)
Despite the easing of tensions across the Taiwan Strait in recent years, Taiwan's security cannot depend on the goodwill of China, Defense Minister Kao Kuang-chi said Friday, adding that the Taiwanese military must remain on guard.
"Although cross-strait ties have improved, it doesn't mean that our security can depend on goodwill extended by others," Kao said at a military personnel promotion ceremony.
The Taiwanese military must continue its efforts to maintain combat readiness and defense capabilities to ensure the security of the country and peace across the strait, he said, calling on the military to "stay highly vigilant."
A strong national defense is a staunch backing for Taiwan to engage with China and is key to maintaining the peace and stability across the strait and in the region, Kao said, citing remarks repeated by President Ma Ying-jeou.
Tensions across the strait have been reduced since Ma took office in 2008.
In the face of double-digit growth in China's defense budget every year and the complex international situation, Taiwan -- a hub in East Asia -- needs to continue its efforts to bolster combat capabilities and build a small but elite force in line with the concept of innovative, asymmetric warfare, Kao said.
China sees Taiwan as a renegade province which should be re-united with the mainland, by force if necessary.
Kao also urged the military to strengthen its measures against Chinese espionage to prevent leaks of Taiwan's military secrets, in an effort to ensure the country's national security.
Meanwhile, he reiterated the necessity of the shift to a volunteer force to build a modern, specialized military.
Noting that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Republic of China's victory over Japan in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), Kao said that it was the toughest fight in the history of the ROC and that the public should keep that part of history in mind. The ceremony promoted a total of 29 general officers, and their promotion will take effect July 1, the Ministry of National Defense said. (By Elaine Hou)
Taipei, June 26 (CNA)