President Tsai Ing-wen said Feb. 13 the government remains committed to safeguarding national security, peace and stability as well as the safety of the Taiwan people, adding that maintaining strong military capabilities is of paramount importance.
Tsai pledged to make reasonable and steady annual increases to the national defense budget, and to provide access to more advance equipment. She added that developing the indigenous defense sector is one of the government’s top priorities.
The nation will remain on alert, never underestimating external military threats, the president said. Taiwan will not provoke confrontation, but will take all necessary actions to guarantee the safety of its people, she said.
Tsai made the remarks while visiting a Republic of China (Taiwan) army base and Navy Fleet Command in southern Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City. She expressed gratitude to military personnel for their contributions, particularly in the wake of the recent magnitude 6.0 earthquake in eastern Taiwan’s Hualien County.
In the hours following the severe temblor, more than 660 military personnel as well as 300 firefighters and rescue workers were dispatched to affected areas. The people of Taiwan owe the first responders a debt of gratitude for their swift and selfless service, Tsai said.
According to the Central Emergency Operation Center, the earthquake caused severe damage after it struck at 11:50 p.m., Feb. 6, off the coast of Hualien. The latest statistics from the Ministry of the Interior confirm 17 dead and 291 injured. (KWS-E)