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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

China not main enemy: Ma

My my. This is about to unfold a great beholding.


China not main enemy: Ma
18 August 2009
Source - Straits Times

TAIPEI - TAIWAN'S President Ma Ying-jeou said on Tuesday that forces of nature rather than China might be the island's main enemy in the future after Typhoon Morakot killed more than 120 people.

'In the future, the armed forces of this country will have disaster prevention and rescue as their main job,' he told reporters.

'From now on, disaster prevention and rescue will be taken into consideration when the military drafts its military strategy, manpower structure, budget, and equipment.'

'Now our enemy is not necessarily people across the Taiwan Strait but nature,' Mr Ma said.

Mr Ma made the remarks amid public anger over the government's slow response to the devastation caused by Typhoon Morakot after it struck on August 8.

Taiwan and China are still technically at war despite a dramatic improvement in cross-strait ties after Mr Ma came to power last year.

Mr Ma announced that his government would purchase 15 rescue helicopters at a cost of US$300 million (S$435 million) to boost the rescue capabilities of Taiwan's airborne police unit.

He said the money would come from the budget originally set aside for the army, which calls for buying 60 UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters to replace its aging UH-1H fleet.

The president said he had decided to create a national disaster prevention agency to take over crisis management, replacing the National Fire Agency.

He also said the military would undertake intensive disaster response training. -- AFP