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Taiwan extends compulsory military service to 1 year amid China threat

12/27/2022 03:42 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Dec. 27 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Tuesday announced that compulsory military service in Taiwan will be extended from four months to one year, effective Jan. 1, 2024, to strengthen Taiwan's combat readiness against potential Chinese attacks.

Tsai also promised to increase the monthly salary of conscripts, from the current starting salary of NT$6,510 (US$212) to NT$20,320, to make sure they earn enough to cover their basic daily expenses.

The decision is expected to affect conscripts who were born on Jan. 1, 2005 and after.

Update -- Extended military service to include higher pay, longer boot camp: President

The announcement was made after Tsai held a round of meetings in the Presidential Office with high-level officials to discuss Taiwan's economic and national security, following months of discussion in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine's wholesale mobilization to ward off a Russian invasion has seen a once-reluctant Taiwanese public warm to the idea of a return to longer training periods for military conscripts.

From after 1949 when the Republic of China government relocated to Taiwan following the Chinese Civil War to the end of the 20th century, all Taiwanese men aged 18 and over had to serve two to three years in the military as part of the country's conscription system.

After 2000, conscription was gradually reduced, reaching one year in duration in 2008.

During the previous Kuomintang administration under President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), which governed from 2008-2016, the government turned the nation's military into a mainly volunteer force, with conscripts, serving in support roles, only required to undergo four months of military training starting in 2013.

During the four months, conscripts do five weeks of boot camp followed by 11 weeks of specialized training with field units.

Experts have warned, however, that implementing the program could be challenging given Taiwan's lack of officers to train conscripts and lack of resources and facilities needed to expand training regimens.

(By Joseph Yeh)


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