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Taiwan leader nixes defense minister resignation

(The Philippine Star) - July 16, 2013 - 1:00pm

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou refused to accept the defense minister's resignation after a 24-year-old army recruit died of heat stroke while being punished for bringing a cellphone on base.

Defense Minister Kao Hao-chu apologized Monday night for the death of Hung Chung-chiu on July 3 and offered to step down. Hung had been forced to perform a vigorous regime of sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks and squats in sweltering heat.

The military has punished 37 officers in connection with the incident, including 15 who face criminal prosecution.

Ma said Tuesday that a resignation by Kao was not justified under the circumstances.

Recruits are banned from bringing camera-equipped cell phones onto Taiwanese military bases for security reasons.

Hung was several days away from completing his 20-month military obligation when he died.

Taiwan is transitioning from a conscripted military force to an all-volunteer army. Its goal of completing the transition by 2015 appears unlikely from initial indications because of continuing difficulties in attracting requisite numbers of recruits.
 

ARMY BRINGING COMPLETING DEFENSE DEFENSE MINISTER KAO HAO DIED HUNG HUNG CHUNG KAO MILITARY TAIWANESE PRESIDENT MA YING
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