Conflicts - TensionsNortheast Asia

Taiwan begins extended conscription in response to PRC threat


New recruits began serving one-year compulsory military service in Taiwan in late January 2024 after the conscription period was extended from four months over concerns about the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) rising military threat.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen announced the extension in late 2022.

The PRC has ramped up military, diplomatic and economic pressure to assert its claims over Taiwan, including almost daily People’s Liberation Army Air Force drills near the self-governed island over the past four years.

“It is our shared responsibility to adjust the structure of the military and improve combat power,” said Lien Chih-wei, an officer at a military recruitment center in central Taiwan’s Taichung, where young men prepared to be inducted. “It is also a foundation for us to strengthen our military power.”

About 670 recruits were expected in the initial group under the extended conscription program.

“In the face of a complex international environment, it is our first priority to build the strong will to resist the enemy,” the Taiwan Army said. “The extension of compulsory service to one year will not only enhance immediate combat effectiveness, but will also improve the quality of reserve personnel, strengthen mobilization energy, and enhance the overall combat effectiveness of national defense.”

Training will include operating weapons systems such as Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank missiles. New recruit Yin Hsin-shih, 18, said extending conscription will provide Taiwan with “the needed defense power given that our neighboring country is a great threat to our nation.”

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