Can the Republic of China Armed Forces in Taiwan fight?

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The Taiwan New Constitution Foundation, which supports Tsai Ing-wen in the 2020 presidential election, recently released a poll claiming that 65% of Taiwanese are willing to go to war to defend Taiwan in the event of a conflict in the Taiwan Strait. But is the training of compulsory military soldiers produced by the current four-month military training service sufficient to support modern warfare? Currently, the Republic of China (R.O.C.) is the ruling power in colonial Taiwan. The Ministry of National Defense of the R.O.C. recently responded that a compulsory military soldier is a qualified combat soldier after completing their training. But is the R.O.C. army capable of defending Taiwan?

Allen Lin, a former U.S. Army soldier who fought in the Iraq War, posted on his Facebook page questioning the R.O.C. Defense Department’s claim, “After four months of recruiting training, these compulsory military soldiers would only shoot prone at targets with rifles at distances of only 175 meters, and not always hit them. And they are unfamiliar with other light weapons, do not zero themselves, and are not good at maintenance. They also did not know how to build field fortifications, and most did not even know field positioning, land navigation, and terrain interpretation. In addition, they lack knowledge and technical equipment for self-rescue, mutual aid, battle wound management, and encrypted communication networks, not to mention calling for fire support. They are not familiar with the attack on nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. The characteristics and protective measures are not well understood and familiar with. Combat instructors will only ask compulsory military soldiers to recite the single combat mantra. You tell me this is called qualified combat soldier?”

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In addition, Allen Lin told TVBS that from the civilian to the government and even the military in Taiwan, there are arguments that the U.S. military must come to Taiwan’s aid. This dependency is no different from that of the U.S.-backed Afghan government. Allen Lin believes that, as the Afghan military, the R.O.C. military in Taiwan is still trained at the same level as it was in the 1970s. Allen Lin thinks that not only is this ineffective in converting citizens into soldiers, but the soldiers thus trained are not adequately equipped and equipped to survive and perform on the battlefield. In the event of a war, the casualties will be even more tragic.

Although R.O.C. Defense denies Allen Lin’s challenge, but it has recently made adjustments to compulsory military soldier training rules. Following a recent trip to Washington D.C. by senior R.O.C. national security officials to meet with senior U.S. federal security officialsthe R.O.C. Ministry of National Defense announced on September 27 that compulsory military soldiers must come down to live with volunteers after recruit training and may go to frontline military bases such as Kinmen and Matsu. R.O.C. Defense Secretary Kuo-cheng Chiu said it would be good for compulsory military soldiers to have experience in the regular army after recruit training, which would be more beneficial than going home after recruit training.

However, the new policy is not well received by Li-shih Lu, a former captain of the R.O.C. Navy’s Ching Chiang-class patrol corvette. Lu posted a comment on Facebook if compulsory military soldiers have to go down and live with volunteers for a while, “Is there any training?” He also questioned whether any volunteer soldiers would dare and be willing to waste their time to lead these compulsory military soldiers. It is worth noting that Taiwan’s current four-month military training system is credited for enrollment in national defense education in high schools and universities.

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Captain Lu questioned that if the U.S. handed down the new regulations of the Ministry of National Defense of the R.O.C., he thought he should first ask the U.S. how long the National Army could survive the war in Iraq or Vietnam with the way it was trained. According to Lu, this new training method assumes that newly trained compulsory military soldiers can seamlessly serve in Kinmen and Matsu. It is impossible to become a qualified soldier, not even to work in any company.

Although polls show that most Taiwanese are prepared to fight China to protect democracy, past Taiwanese history shows that most Taiwanese chose to submit to Japanese rule when the Qing Dynasty ceded Taiwan to the Japanese Empire. For example, Hsien-jung Koo, a Taiwanese gentleman at the time, opened the gates of Taipei City to welcome the Japanese army. When Japan handed over Taiwan to the R.O.C. in 1945, most Taiwanese were not keen to start an armed revolution to establish an independent nation. They were even unable to resist the massacre by the R.O.C. army.

The corruption of the R.O.C.’s armed forces and the cowardly culture of the majority of the Taiwanese people, I’m afraid, will not be able to deal with the foreign enemies invading the island.

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