Taiwan Expands Military Draft In Response To Chinese Threat

Taiwan is responding to increased threats of an invasion by China by increasing the period of compulsory military service for men from four months to one year, according to an announcement on Tuesday.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said during a press conference, “China’s expansion continues to impact the international order, threatens regional peace and stability, and affects cross-strait relations.” Tsai added: “Only by preparing for war can we avoid war.”

Tsai said Tuesday that Taiwan will be the “home of democracy and freedom all over the world, and will not become a battlefield,” so long as it is “strong enough.”

Compulsory military service for all Taiwanese men at age 18 has been enforced since 2013. The required period has been four months of active duty, including five weeks of basic training. Previously, draftees were required to serve two full years on active duty.

The new requirements going into effect in 2024 will be one year of active duty and eight weeks of basic training.

The new system will also include a substantial increase in monthly salary for draftees from $211 to $856.

The primary military mission for new conscripts will be guarding infrastructure, enabling regular veteran forces to respond more swiftly to an actual Chinese invasion.

Taiwan has also seen a greater need to bolster its defensive posture after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) visited in August. China responded with immediately increased military drills near Taiwan in response to Pelosi’s visit.

China has conducted military exercises and drills in Taiwanese waters recently. It even included Russian forces in one joint exercise there in August.

Tsai’s announcement came one day after the Taiwan defense ministry said that 71 Chinese fighter jets and drone aircraft entered the island nation’s air defense identification zone in a single 24-hour period ending Monday. That marked the largest-ever incursion by Chinese air forces into Taiwan’s airspace.

Taiwan gradually shifted this century from a military based on a compulsory draft to a professional volunteer force. However, China’s significantly increased territorial aggression and the Russian invasion of Ukraine have raised new concerns about boosting defensive readiness.

Chinese dictator President Xi Jinping has repeatedly vowed to bring self-governing Taiwan under the direct control of the Chinese Communist Party.

The American Institute in Taiwan responded to the announced change in conscription policy by stating, “The United States’ commitment to Taiwan and steps Taiwan takes to enhance its self-defense capabilities contribute to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region.”


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