A retired tech billionaire in Taipei is standing by his pledge to donate one billion Taiwan dollars ($32 million) to create a civilian army to take on China.
Dressed in a bulletproof vest over a business shirt, Robert Tsao has declared he wants to help his countrymen and women fight against China, BBC reported.
The aim was to train up three million civilian “warriors” — a seventh of the population — in three years. Office workers, students, shopkeepers, parents could all learn to pick up a gun; he wants 300,000 sharpshooters.
He brandished a picture of a fresh Taiwan identity card, which he re-applied after renouncing his Singapore passport.
“I think as long as people are in Taiwan, they will be willing to defend their country. They are not afraid of Chinese military aggression,” he told the BBC.
Born in China but raised in Taiwan, Tsao created the United Microelectronics Corp semiconductor company, making his fortune in an industry the island is now globally known for.
As a businessman, he had many dealings in China. An ardent student of history, he has been a high-profile voice in policy debates for decades.
In 2007 he championed the idea of a referendum on unification with the mainland. But he is now among an increasing number of Taiwanese who feel they need to prepare for a possible invasion.
The billionaire has also pledged money to develop military drones, critical to Taiwan’s “porcupine” defence strategy.