Taiwan tycoon funds 3.3 million-strong army of ‘civilian warriors’ to repel invasion | Taiwan

A Taiwanese tycoon has announced his plan to train 3.3 million “civilian warriors” and riflemen to defend Taiwan against a Chinese invasion, at the cost of 1 billion Taiwan dollars ($32 million) of his own money.

The announcement by Robert Tsao, a prominent Taiwanese businessman and founder of United Microelectronics Corp, a major microchip maker, comes amid rising military activity between Taiwan and China. On Thursday, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry announced that its soldiers shot down a Chinese drone over Taiwan’s Kinmen Islands.

At a news conference on Thursday, Tsao, 75, said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) threat to Taiwan was growing. Wearing a bulletproof vest and helmet, he pledged funds to train “three million people in three years.” Working with the island’s civilian defense organization, Kuma Academy, 60% of the funds would be used to build an army of “warriors” and 40% to train another 300,000 in gunnery.

“If we can successfully resist China’s ambitions, we will not only be able to protect our homeland, but also make great contributions to the world situation and the development of civilization,” he said.

Tsao used to be an active supporter of Taiwan’s unification with China and had renounced his Taiwanese citizenship in protest of a government investigation into his company. However he said Radio Free Asia that he had a change of heart after witnessing the crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, particularly Yuen Long’s MTR attack. He also announced Thursday that he had renounced his Singaporean citizenship and reinstated his Taiwanese citizenship, and that he plans to “die in Taiwan and stand with his people.”

“In the face of the Chinese Communist Party’s atrocities against its own people and its brutal repression of people like the Uyghurs who are not even Chinese, the CCP’s threats have only ignited among the Taiwanese a bitter hatred of this menacing enemy and a common determination to.” resist,” he said loudly Bloomberg.

The Kuma Academy was established in 2021 amid a growing desire among Taiwan’s civilian population to be trained in guerrilla warfare, self-defense and first-aid skills. In August, it launched a crowdfunding campaign and was approached by Tsao.

“This goal is ambitious and the challenge daunting, but Taiwan has no time to hesitate,” the academy said in a statement.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the community’s appetite for civilian education grew, but was unanswered by the government, which has focused on building up its armed and reserve forces. After moving away from conscription-based armed forces, Taiwan has struggled to fill positions and maintain an adequate military force, which is reportedly fewer than 90,000 men.

Citing the efforts of the British people in World War II and the Ukrainians against the ongoing Russian invasion, the Kuma Academy said the will of the Taiwanese people to resist invasion would “determine the outcome of the war”.

War is not a matter for a few people, and defending Taiwan is a matter for all Taiwanese. Everyone has the ability and responsibility to bring their own strength to war.”

Following the announcement, UMC distanced itself from Tsao, who retired from the company he founded more than 10 years ago. “He has nothing to do with UMC,” it said.

Tensions between Taiwan and China have increased dramatically in recent months, particularly following a visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In response, China’s military surrounded Taiwan with live fire drills that lasted several days and included missile tests and multiple crossings of the median line — an unofficial cross-strait border that China’s government recently rejected.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said Thursday its soldiers did so shot down a Chinese drone for the first time. The drone flew over military posts on Taiwan’s Kinmen Islands, just off mainland China, and ignored warnings to leave, the ministry said. Taiwan had previously shot down flares on repeated drone flights during and after the post-Pelosi drills, but video footage from recent flights over the islands had shown Taiwanese soldiers throwing rocks, causing some embarrassment.

This week, the defense force warned against shooting down any drones that ignored warnings to abandon the airspace, after President Tsai Ing-wen called for “strong countermeasures” against Chinese provocations.

The Chinese drills largely simulated a blockade by Taiwan, disrupting air and sea traffic and attacking key shipping ports, but on Friday Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said China’s military is too Simulating attacks on US Navy shipsto prevent foreign forces from coming to the aid of Taiwan in the event of an attack.

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