Thursday, August 27, 2015

Why Taiwanese Leaders Should Skip the Victory Day Parade in Beijing

Former KMT chairman Lien Chan will attend the military parade in Beijing on Sept. 3, which sends a very bad signal to the young men and women in Taiwan who are giving thought to joining the military

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense on Wednesday announced that sluggish recruitment figures were once again forcing it to delay its plans to end military conscription next year, one of the major goals of the Ma Ying-jeou Administration. Convincing enough qualified young men and women to forsake the comforts of civilian life and enlist in the armed forces will always be a great challenge, one that has been made more formidable by recent controversies such as the July 2013 death of Army conscript Hong Chung-chiu and the 'Apache-gate' scandal earlier this year. At the very least, the Government should not make matters worse by sending contradictory signals about the nature of the threat facing Taiwan to potential recruits.

Sadly, such a signal is exactly what the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is about to broadcast after it allowed its honourary chairman, Lien Chan, to attend a series of events in Beijing commemorating the 70th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II, which will include a goose-stepping military parade on 3 September of such proportions as to bring to mind the very fascism that was defeated in the war. 

My article, published today in the Lowy Interpreter, continues here.

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