Taiwan Defense Ministry cancels plan to end conscript

Taiwan Defense Ministry cancels plan to end conscript
Special troops salute to Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou at the end of the annual Han Kuang military exercise in an army base in Hsinchu, northern Taiwan, July 4, 2015.
PHOTO: Reuters

TAIPEI - The Ministry of National Defence (MND) announced last night that it would not be able to end conscription as scheduled.

In the bid to phase into an all-volunteer system, the R.O.C. Armed Forces had planned to end compulsory military service for men born before Jan. 1, 1994 starting from Jan. 1, 2016.

Instead of performing one year of compulsory military service, men born before 1994 would be required to serve a year of alternative service.

In a press statement released late yesterday, the Defence Ministry said it would not be able to phase out military conscription for the pre-1994 cohort as scheduled.

Next year, the armed forces will conscript approximately 23,100 men from the pre-1994 cohort to meet defence needs, according to the statement.

The ministry said the decision has been approved by the Cabinet.

Conscription is needed to cope with current enemy threats, rising tensions in the region, the need for high combat-readiness of military forces, disaster relief and other emergencies, the statement continued.

After careful assessment, the ministry determined that it is not on track to meet recruitment goals in 2015 despite "significant growth" in voluntary enlistment, it stated.

The ministry stressed that men born after Jan. 1, 1994 are to remain exempt from compulsory military service and would be required to undergo four months of military training instead.

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