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Taiwan military facing difficulty keeping soldiers: MND

2017/09/15 11:55:31

Taipei, Sept. 15 (CNA) Taiwan's military is facing a challenge of retaining service members but will continue to offer better benefits as it moves toward an all-volunteer service by next year, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) admitted Friday.

In a statement, the MND said it has been a challenge for the R.O.C. Armed Forces to persuade voluntary soldiers to extend their service, since they are apparently facing huge pressures.

However, the military has been offering better incentives, including increased pay for soldiers in combat units, which is being funded by subsidies granted by the Cabinet in July, the MND said.

In addition, old military camps and bases are being renovated to provide better living condition for soldiers, the ministry said.

"We hope these measures will help us to meet our goals," the MND said in the statement, which was issued in the wake of a local media report that the military would be facing a manpower shortage next year, when an all-volunteer force is expected to take effect.

In 2011, Taiwan introduced regulations to end conscription and transform its military into an all-volunteer service. Under the rules, eligible males born after Jan. 1, 1994 will no longer be obligated to serve in the military but instead will be required to undergo four months of military training. Eligible men born before that date, however, would still have to serve the compulsory one year in the military, according to the regulations.

The transition to a fully volunteer force was expected to be completed by Jan. 1, 2015 but the MND in 2013 revised the date to the end of 2017 due to sluggish volunteer recruitment numbers.

To boost recruitment, the government has been offering series of incentives and salary increases over the past few years.

(By Joseph Yeh)