Leadership: Taiwan Demobilizes and Rearms


May 24,2008: Taiwan's newly elected government plans to cut armed forces strength 25 percent (from 270,000 troops to 200,000). The new government is friendlier towards China, and apparently plans to maintain Taiwan's independence by saying what China wants to hear (that Taiwan won't declare independence from China, which considers Taiwan a temporarily "lost province"), and buy more modern weapons from the U.S. Taiwan is also developing new defense plans that involve closer coordination with the United States and Japan. The Taiwanese still want to keep the Chinese out, but will be more discreet and diplomatic about it in the future.

Cutting the size of the armed forces is popular with most Taiwanese, because it means lower taxes, and fewer young Taiwanese men getting conscripted. Buying more modern weapons helps with troop morale, giving them the feeling that they could withstand a Chinese onslaught.


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