One of Taiwan’s richest men has pledged to advance a billion Taiwan dollars to train a defense force, made up of “civilian warriors” and snipers, to help protect against a possible invasion of China.
Robert Tsao wore a helmet and body armor as he offered to privately fund two civil defense training programs at a press conference on Thursday.
The 75-year-old billionaire, who founded chipmaker United Microelectronics Corp (UMC), said 600m Taiwan dollars (about £17m) would be used to train three million ‘civilian warriors’ over three years .
He said the remaining 400m Taiwan dollars (about £11m) would be used to train 300,000 “ordinary people” into expert snipers.
Beijing sees Taiwan as part of China and has not ruled out using military force to bring it under his control.
Mr Tsao, once believed to be worth 81bn Taiwan dollars (£2.3bn), was previously an active supporter of Taiwan’s unification with China and renounced his Taiwanese citizenship in protest at a government investigation on his business in 2011.
He told Radio Free Asia that he changed his mind after witnessing Chinese repression on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.
Mr Tsao renounced his Singaporean citizenship at Thursday’s press conference, said his Taiwanese citizenship had been restored and that he planned to “die in Taiwan and stand with its people”.
He said, “I am 100% a Taiwanese citizen.
Last month, Mr Tsao offered to donate three billion Taiwan dollars to bolster the self-governing island’s defences.
It came after China launched unprecedented military exercises around island democracy in response to a visit by the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi.
Taiwan rejects China’s sovereignty claims and has said only the people of the island can decide their future.
Please use Chrome browser for more accessible video player
Expert says a US-China war is a risk that should be taken very seriously
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has reinforced US commitment to Taiwan, even saying they would be prepared to defend it militarily.
Asked about Mr. Tsao’s plans, Taiwanese cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng thanked him for wanting to protect the island.
“Whether these plans are feasible, relevant departments will assess,” he told reporters.
UMC distanced itself from its founder, saying in a statement: “Mr. Tsao retired from UMC more than 10 years ago.
“It has nothing to do with UMC.”
. business man taiwanese Robert Tsao offer billion dollars for from warriors civilians from shooters elite News world