Compulsory military service began to take effect in Taiwan for one year to face the threat from China

The first group of new recruits listen to instructions as they prepare to begin their one-year mandatory military service in Taichung, Taiwan (REUTERS/Ann Wang) (ANN WANG/)

The first group of new recruits began this Thursday to fulfill his one-year mandatory military service in Taiwanafter the recruitment period was extended from four months due to government concerns about the growing military threat from the Chinese regime.

The president Tsai Ing-wen announced the expansion at the end of 2022.

China has stepped up military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan to assert its sovereignty claims, including almost daily air force missions near the island over the past four years.

At a recruiting center taichungin the center of Taiwana group of young men gathered in the cold of the morning to be enlisted, while dogs searched their bags for drugs and hairdressers shaved their heads before dressing in army uniforms.

“It is our shared responsibility to adjust the army structure and improve combat power. It is also a base to reinforce our military power,” the officer told the press. Lien Chih-wei.

New recruits receive instructions from military authorities (REUTERS/Ann Wang)
New recruits receive instructions from military authorities (REUTERS/Ann Wang) (ANN WANG/)

Taiwan’s military stated that it hoped that A total of 670 recruits will enlist in the first batch under the new expanded plan.

“Faced with a complex international environment, our priority is to build the firm will to resist the enemy,” he declared.

“Extending the mandatory service to one year will not only increase immediate combat effectiveness, but also improve the quality of reserve personnel, strengthen mobilization energy and increase the overall combat effectiveness of national defense,” he added.

Tsai called the previous military system, which included the training of reservists, ineffective and insufficient to deal with the growing Chinese military threatespecially if he launched a quick attack against the island.

The recruits will receive more intense training, including shooting exercises, combat training used by U.S. forces and handling more powerful weapons, such as Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank missiles, according to previously announced plans.

Yin Hsin-shih18, said he was “a little excited” to enlist.

Recruits had to shave their heads to join military service (REUTERS/Ann Wang)
Recruits had to shave their heads to join military service (REUTERS/Ann Wang) (ANN WANG/)

“For the country it will provide the necessary defensive power, given that our neighbor is a great threat to our nation,” he said, referring to China.

The United States, Taiwan’s main international supporter and arms seller despite the lack of formal diplomatic ties, welcomed conscription reform as part of Taiwan’s efforts. to increase its defense capacity.

However, the service period in Taiwan is still less to the 18 months required in South Koreawhich faces a hostile, nuclear-armed North Korea.

After Taiwan announced the extension in 2022, China criticized the island for trying to use the Taiwanese people as “cannon fodder.”

Taiwan’s government rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claims and says only the Taiwanese people can decide their future.

(With information from Reuters)