A retired general in the Taiwanese army claims that the Taiwanese military is understaffed and ill-equipped for a war over China, which was questioned in a recent interview: “Should they fight with brooms?
Former Army Major General of the Republic of China, Major General Hsiao Tien-liu, expressed doubts about Taiwan’s combat readiness, just a week after his Defense Minister Yen De-fa said the island could mobilize about 450,000 soldiers in the event of a military invasion.
At a committee meeting on October 22, Yen said President Tsai Ing-wen could deploy 185,000 active soldiers and call up about 260,000 reserves in case the People’s Liberation Army forces crossed the Taiwan Strait.
However, Hsiao, who was head of procurement in the Armaments Bureau of the Ministry of Defense, said that this was a “very difficult” task.
In an interview published today by the multinational Chinese-language website China Review News Agency, the ex-soldier said that experience had shown that in the past, only about 70 percent of the reserve forces appeared when called for training.
Should they fight with brooms?
“Although a war mobilization order would be enforced, the military lacks comprehensive measures to mobilize in an emergency,” Hsiao said according to a Tekk.tv translation of the CRNA report. “It would be very difficult to successfully assemble 450,000 soldiers”.
Another obstacle would be the military’s historical lack of attention to consolidating weapons and equipment in its camps, he argued. This could lead to a situation where it would not be able to supply soldiers with enough weapons even if the armed forces could assemble the required troops.
“How can soldiers go to war without adequate equipment? Should they fight with brooms?” The CRNA told Hsiao with the words.
The retired major general called on Taiwan’s military to “be more aware of the crisis” and make the “basic preparations” necessary to respond to a future emergency situation.
Tekk.tv contacted the Taiwan Ministry of Defense to comment, but received no response at the time of publication.
“Senseless” arms race
In another interview published today by the CRNA, Hsiao, who was involved in the now restructured U.S. Department of Defense’s weapons procurement division, described the latest weapons purchases from America as an “endless money pit.
Tsai’s government has made nine arms deals with the Trump administration since its first election to office in 2016, spending record amounts of Taiwan’s military budget on defensive armaments.
Hsiao called an arms race with Beijing “pointless” because of the PLA’s enormous military spending. “Taiwan will never close this military gap, no matter how much money it spends,” he told the news site.
US and Chinese military officials speak of “crisis communication” as they act with warnings
Signs of war
Supported by anti-Chinese sentiment in the United States and the support of President Trump’s top diplomat Mike Pompeo, Tsai and her Democratic Progress Party have sought to strengthen relations with allies such as the United States and, more recently, India.
The continuing US arms sales to Taipei have angered the Chinese leadership, which has issued threats through official and unofficial channels. It has brought military tension in the region to its highest level since the missile crisis in Taiwan in the mid-1990s.
Lee Tien-tuo, a retired army colonel and former intelligence officer of the Taiwan National Security Bureau, told the China Review News Agency today that a Chinese invasion would be preceded by two actions.
Beijing would first publish a list of “Taiwanese separatist” war criminals to filter out certain individuals, Lee suspected. China would then terminate the current Framework Economic Cooperation Agreement, signed in 2010, to express a total breakdown of its relations with the island, which it considers a rogue province.