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Taiwan military to form 5 new coastal defense brigades

Reorganization to be completed by end of 2023: Ministry of National Defense

Taiwanese soldiers in action in Han Kuang exercise.

Taiwanese soldiers in action in Han Kuang exercise. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of National Defense said Thursday (Dec. 24) it would add five coastal defense brigades by 2023 but denied reports that the change amounts to an expansion of the Armed Forces.

Media reports had claimed the measure was the first expansion of Taiwan's military since 1997, but the ministry said the move to establish five more brigades, bringing the total to 12, would only involve basic cadres, not any new staff, CNA reported.

The reorganization will significantly improve the country's ability to defend its coastlines, a military spokesman said. Over the past few months, China has repeatedly sent military planes and warships closer to Taiwan, underlining its resolve to use military force to realize its threats of unification.

The increase from seven to 12 coastal brigades will boost the nation’s defense capabilities on the front line, the ministry said. Starting Jan. 1, one brigade each will be added in the north and south, followed by additional brigades in the northern, central, and southern regions, with the new arrangement to be completed by Dec. 31, 2023.