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Taiwan extends mandatory military service to one year

Taiwan has announced an extension in mandatory military service from four months to one year, citing the threat from China, which considers self-ruled Taiwan a part of its territory.

China’s “intimidation and threats against Taiwan are getting more obvious”, President Tsai Ing-wen told a press conference on Tuesday.

“The current four-month military service is not enough to meet the fast and ever-changing situation,” she said. “We have decided to restore the one-year military service from 2024.”

The extended requirement will apply to men born after January 1, 2005, Tsai said.

READ MORE: Tensions rise amid China’s war drill around Taiwan

‘Extremely difficult decision’

Mandatory service used to be deeply unpopular in Taiwan. 

Its previous government had reduced compulsory military service from one year to four months with the aim of creating a mainly volunteer force.

But recent polling showed more than three-quarters of the Taiwanese public now believes that is too short.

The military has also struggled to recruit and retain full-time personnel because of low financial incentives.

Tsai described the extension as “an extremely difficult decision… to ensure the democratic way of life for our future generations”.

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