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Taiwan to extend mandatory military service period amid rising tensions with China
01/05/2023 // Belle Carter // Views

President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan recently announced the extension of the nation's compulsory military service – from the current four months to one year at the start of 2024.

This will apply to men born after 2005.

Tsai said in a press conference that the four months of training can "no longer suit the needs" of Taiwan's defense, adding that while extending the service period was a "difficult decision," it was necessary for safeguarding the island's democratic way of life.

"Nobody wants war. The Taiwanese government and its people do not want it, nor does the international community want it. But peace does not fall from the sky," she said. "We need to actively prepare for war to prevent war, and we need to be able to fight a war to stop a war."

Under the plans, conscripts will undergo more intense training, including shooting exercises and combat instruction used by U.S. forces. Military trainees will be tasked with guarding key infrastructure, while the country's soldiers will form the main battlefield force.

Also, as per the nation's first woman president, the monthly salary of conscripts will also be raised from about $195 to more than $650 per month.

Meanwhile, a White House spokesperson welcomed Taiwan's announcement, saying it underscored "Taiwan's commitment to self-defense and strengthens deterrence."

According to the U.S. spokesperson, President Joe Biden's administration "will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability in line with our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act and our one-China policy."

Brighteon.TV

"The United States will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues, and oppose any unilateral changes in the status quo by either side," the spokesperson added.

The announcement of the change came after Taiwan's defense ministry reported that 71 Chinese air force jets and drones had entered the island's air defense identification zone within 24 hours on December 23, which is the largest reported incursion to date. Beijing, which regards the island as a breakaway province, has been pushing to be "reunified" with Taiwan – by force if necessary. (Related: China will not hesitate to use FORCE to retake Taiwan, warns Xi.)

Last August, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei. In response, China conducted a series of unprecedented military drills, such as flying ballistic missiles over Taiwan. Chinese warships and warplanes have since persisted in crossing the Taiwan Strait, which separates China and Taiwan, almost daily.

Taiwan's military to face manpower challenges due to dropping birth rate

A survey conducted by the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation in December found that 73.2 percent of respondents were in favor of an extension of compulsory service.

However, analysts have expressed other concerns.

Based on a Legislative Yuan report in June, Taiwan currently has a professional military force of 162,000, which is 7,000 fewer than the target, and its military manpower challenges are likely to be exacerbated by a dropping birth rate.

In 2022, the pool of military conscripts was the smallest in 10 years, totaling no more than 118,000. This figure is expected to drop further in upcoming years as the nation's estimated fertility rate of just over 1.08 is the lowest in the world, according to the Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook.

Also, Taiwan plans to raise defense spending by 14-percent year-over-year. The island's push for a landmark defense budget for 2023 shows that it is not yielding to Beijing's mounting aggression.

The recent announcements by the Taiwanese government indicate a change in policy priorities, said Professor James Lin, a historian of Taiwan at the University of Washington.

"Under KMT (Kuomintang) administrations, military spending was deprioritized because KMT foreign policy emphasized friendly relations with Beijing as a form of maintaining peace," he said. "Given that Beijing has grown increasingly nationalistic and aggressive since 2016, it only makes sense that Taiwan's priorities will shift to ensuring it has a greater capability for providing its own self-defense."

Visit WWIII.news for more updates on the looming conflict between Taiwan and China.

Watch the video below that talks about the CCP deploying more warplanes over Taiwan.

This video is from the Chinese taking down EVIL CCP channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

Biden meets with his Chinese counterpart, fails to bring up COVID, Taiwan or spying.

Biden commits to sending American troops if China invades Taiwan.

Taiwan asserts its right to defend itself and to COUNTER-ATTACK if China invades.

Sources include:

TheNewAmerican.com

Edition.CNN.com

FT.com

TheGuardian.com

Brighteon.com



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