Taipei, Dec. 12 (CNA) Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) said Monday that military conscription will cease, setting 2017 as the last year in which young men will be required to serve national conscription.
Feng said at a hearing of the legislative Foreign and National Defense Committee that from 2018, there will be no compulsory enlistment for military service.
The minister announced the decision when answering a question by ruling Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) about why the Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced to the public that Chinese military aircraft had flown around Taiwan twice in the past month.
Feng replied the MND wants to let the people of the country know that the threat from China is accelerating and that he hopes this will encourage patriotic young people to join the military as volunteers.
"The decision to cease the draft in 2018 will not be changed," he stressed.
Compared with Feng's firmness on the issue, however, MND spokesman Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) appeared more flexible, saying that "if the recruitment of an all-volunteer force reaches its goal, it will not be necessary to draft men born in 1993 and before into military service in 2018."
As part of a shift to an all-volunteer force, the MND decided to stop the compulsory draft in January 2016. The decision, however, has since been changed several times due to lower-than-expected recruitment numbers.
(By Wang Cheng-chung and Elizabeth Hsu)ENDITEM/J