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Taiwan extends mandatory military service to 1 year citing China threat

Taiwan on Tuesday announced an extension in mandatory military service from four months to one year, citing the threat from an increasingly hostile China. The extended requirement will apply to men born after January 1, 2005, Tsai added.

Taiwan extends mandatory military service to 1 year citing China threat gcw
First Published Dec 27, 2022, 5:11 PM IST

In response to the threat posed by an increasingly antagonistic China, Taiwan on Tuesday announced an increase in the length of required military service from four months to one year. Taiwan always fears a Chinese invasion because Beijing views the island as a part of its territory that will one day be seized, if necessary by force.

President Xi Jinping has increased China's sabre-rattling in recent years, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine has increased Taiwanese concerns that Beijing may take similar action to conquer the island.

Following a high-level cabinet meeting on national security, President Tsai Ing-wen stated at a news conference that China's "intimidation and threats against Taiwan are become more clear."

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“No one wants war… but my fellow countrymen, peace will not fall from the sky."

The present four-month military commitment is insufficient, she claimed, to keep up with the rapidly evolving circumstances. "We've decided to bring back the one-year military commitment starting in 2024."

Men born after January 1, 2005 would be subject to the increased requirement, Tsai added. In order to create a primarily voluntary army, Taiwan's previous administration had shortened the length of mandatory service from a year to four months.

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Many of China's neighbours as well as Western countries are growing more concerned about the possibility of a Chinese invasion. The "reunification" of Taiwan, as Xi, the most autocratic leader of China in decades, puts it, cannot be passed on to succeeding generations.

After the Chinese Civil War ended in 1949, Taiwan and China parted apart, and Tsai has stated that the island's residents do not support joining China. Taiwan is a mountainous island and would be a strong opponent to an invading army, but according to a Pentagon assessment issued last month, it is vastly outgunned with 89,000 ground soldiers compared to China's one million.

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