TAIPEI: Taiwan will extend its compulsory military service from four months to a year starting in 2024, President Tsai Ing-wen said Tuesday, as the self-ruled island faces China’s military, diplomatic and trade pressure.
Taiwan, which split from the mainland in 1949 during a civil war, is claimed by China. The decades-old threat of invasion by China has sharpened since Beijing cut off communications with Taiwan’s government after the 2016 election of Tsai, who is seen as pro-independence.
China’s People’s Liberation Army in particular has stepped up its military harassment, sending fighter planes and navy vessels toward Taiwan on a near-daily basis in recent years. In response, the island’s military actively tracks those movements, which often serves as training for its own military personnel.
The longer military service applies to men born after 2005, and will start Jan. 1, 2024. Those born before 2005 will continue to serve four months, but under a revamped training curriculum aimed at strengthening the island’s reserves forces.
“No one wants war,” Tsai said. “This is true of Taiwan’s government and people, and the global community, but peace does not come from the sky, and Taiwan is at the front lines of the expansion of authoritarianism.”
The White House welcomed the announcement on conscription reform, saying it underscores Taiwan’s commitment to self-defense and strengthens deterrence.