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Retired Tech Exec Pledges $33 Million to Raise Taiwanese

2 min read

  • A retired Taiwanese tech mogul is pledging his millions to fund training for civilian troops.
  • He says he’d pay a private military training outfit to train 3 million civilians for three years.
  • Taiwan has around 88,000 active-duty ground troops, compared to China’s 1.04 million professionals.

A retired Taiwanese tech tycoon said on Thursday that he plans to use his own wealth to train more than 3 million “civilian warriors” to defend against a Chinese invasion.

Robert Tsao, 75, intends to use $33 million of his own cash to fund the effort, according to Taiwan News, an English-language news outlet on the self-governing democratic island.

Tsao also announced that he was renouncing his Singaporean citizenship in favor of regaining his Taiwanese identity in light of China’s repeated military threats to Taiwan, per Taiwan News.

According to the outlet, Tsao said his money would go toward having the civilian troops trained for three years by the Kuma Academy, a private military outfit also known as the “Black Bear Academy.”

The eventual 3 million “black bear warriors” could then work alongside Taiwan’s military, Agence France Presse reported, citing Tsao.

Tsao also said that $13 million from the sum would be used to train 300,000 “marksmen,” the outlet reported.

Tsao became one of Taiwan’s most prominent business magnates after founding United Microelectronics Corps in 1980. He no longer holds a position in the company.

As Insider reported, Taiwan has around 88,000 active-duty ground troops, compared to mainland China’s 1.04 million professional soldiers. However, the island also has around 1.5 million reservists — civilians who have completed a four-month mandatory national service.

It’s unclear if the “black bear warriors” mentioned by Tsao comprise reservists who will receive extra training, or if they are other civilians.

China-Taiwan tensions have soared since US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited the self-governing island in early August, despite Beijing’s threats of military action. China’s People’s Liberation Army has so far responded to Pelosi’s visit by carrying out live-fire drills in positions around Taiwan and sending ships and fighter jets into the areas around the island.

On Wednesday, Taiwan vowed to counterattack without exception should any of Beijing’s forces crossed into the island’s waters or airspace.