TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Retired Taiwanese general Chen Ting-chung (陳廷寵) said earlier this week that Taiwan's combat capabilities are "close to none" and its armed forces stand no chance against the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA).
Speaking at the 70th-anniversary celebration of the nation's military academy on Tuesday (Sept. 29), Chen said he considers himself Chinese and a "symbol of pride." He said President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is "ignorant and unintelligent" and there are many "scumbags" in the country who want to follow agendas set by the U.S. and Japan.
Chen said the Taiwanese military has almost zero combat strength and will not be able to sustain attacks from the PLA. He attributed Taiwan's poor combat capabilities to former President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) decision to shorten the country's mandatory military service during his tenure.
Chen's remarks immediately drew a backlash from the public, with many people urging the government to de-fund his pension. According to Liberty Times, he receives NT$60 million (US$2,07 million) in government subsidies annually for a Taiwanese children's school he operates in China.
In response to Chen's comments, Yen Juo-fang (顏若芳), spokeswoman of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said Wednesday (Sept. 30) that former Taiwanese generals should not ingratiate themselves with China. She said the speech contradicts his duty to protect the nation and has seriously damaged the image of Taiwan's military, reported Yahoo News.
Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) on Thursday (Oct. 1) also expressed regret for Chen's "absurd and inappropriate" remarks. It said his behavior has made him unpopular in Taiwan, but the government will not suspend the subsidy for his school since it is intended to give Taiwanese children in China equal learning opportunities, reported CNA.