Taiwan's Military Announces Its Newest Defense Program: 'Surrender Food'

Taiwan's Military Announces Its Newest Defense Program: 'Surrender Food'
Credit: CNA
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'This might work,' quipped one Chinese internet user, 'because PLA soldiers might die from laughing too hard.'

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On April 14, Taiwan’s military announced its newest weapon in times of war: food with prints in simplified Chinese calling upon recipients to defect.

An assortment of food items such as Oreos, caramel candies, Choco Pies, egg rolls, and bottled water were presented in a press conference as Taiwan’s newest tool of cognitive warfare. There is one difference – their brands are replaced with “Surrender” (投誠) instead of the their typical names.

"Surrender Brand” instant noodles bring a familiar Taiwanese flavor to a potential battlefield. Printed in simplified Chinese is: “Please leave this instant noodle package and put down your weapons / Surrender to the ROC army / We promise to provide hot water and safety.”

“Surrender Brand” egg rolls call upon the recipient to follow five steps to surrender:

  1. Put down your weapons
  2. Raise both hands
  3. Hold this box of egg rolls
  4. Surrender
  5. Go home to be with your families
surrender2
Credit: Youtube Screenshot
Taiwan's newest defense against China: Egg rolls.

In a report by TVBS News, several randomly selected interviewees laughed upon seeing the program. This juxtaposes with the seriousness with which the Ministry of National Defense Cognitive Warfare Section head Wang Yi-hung (王宜弘) presented the program. According to Wang, the use of this program has no specific target. Though based on the use of simplified Chinese, one would not see that the use is for none other than on Chinese soldiers.

As impractical as this program may be in reality, this announcement does tell a little about the attitude of the MND on defending Taiwan. According to Wang, there are clearly printed locations and maps directing the soldiers to a central location for surrender, drawing from the success of U.S. propaganda campaigns during the Gulf Wars.

But, as shown above in the example of the egg rolls, the location guides to a police office in Hengchun, Pingtung. This suggests that this food-propaganda would be used in the event of an amphibious attack on Taiwan. The scheme, dubbed an effort to advance Taiwan’s Cognitive Warfare program, shows the degree at which Taiwan’s ability at fighting with the minds falls behind that of China.

China’s cognitive warfare efforts are subtle and contains a wide variety of complex method including the use of media training and overseas Chinese as potential connections, as described by Rachael Burton at Project 2049 Institute. Taiwan’s “cognitive warfare” effort, in comparison, so far has not been able to deflect infiltration efforts by China, and through this program shows how it still attempts to strategize in terms of conventional warfare.

The high-profile announcement of this program perhaps even shows to both the Taiwanese public and the rest of the world of the lack of sophistication of Taiwan’s “cognitive warfare” programs. For one, media in China have already picked up the news as an opportunity to ridicule the Taiwanese military. According to the Taipei Times, one Chinese internet user quipped: “This might work, because PLA soldiers might die from laughing too hard.”

As creative as this new “Surrender Brand” food is in the Taiwanese military, it remains in question how practical it would be, or whether it would actually be used in combat situations.

Read Next: OPINION: Hong Kong Shows Taiwan the True Importance of Sovereignty

Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)

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