Many believe President Tsai Ing-wen would make the announcement on extending Taiwan's military service to one year in the national security meeting next week. While many DPP lawmakers support the change, they also think the salaries and benefits of draftees should be improved.
DPP legislators are coming out in support to extend the military service to one-year as the situation in the Taiwan Strait is precarious, and national defense reform is imminent. While there is still no announcement from the Ministry of National Defense, some believe it's likely that President Tsai Ing-wen would finalize the change in a national security meeting next week. Legislator Liu Shyh-fang brought out a number of recent polls, showing that the extension of military service received 60 percent to 80 percent of public support. However, besides extending the service period, training programs and treatment have to be adjusted also. For example, the monthly salary of a private in compulsory service is only NT$6,510, which is only half of the salary of a South Korean private.
Chung Chia-pin, Legislator (DPP): “Besides serving during the compulsory service period, being summoned after discharge is also part of our military service.”
Su Tzu-yun, Director, Div. of Defense Strategy & Resources, INDSR: “In the future, assume that there are only about 2.21 million 18 to 32 years olds available for volunteer service, which is half of what is available now. So this means it's harder to support an all-volunteer force.”
Chung pointed out that from the Russia-Ukraine War, we can see that people continue to receive military training to maintain their combat readiness. Su said that Taiwan is facing the impact of a declining birth rate, and the population will not be able to support a full volunteer force. At this moment, integrity and courage are needed to reform the country’s military service and assist draftees to complete psychological adjustments, physical strengthening, and familiarity with combat weapons. NGOs are also supporting the resumption of the one-year military service period. China has about 700,000 to 800,000 troops that it can send to attack Taiwan. Taiwan’s national army can rely on a combat strength of about 240,000 troops. The military’s current training and task organization may not match the real state of war.
Lo I, Director, Activities Dept., Taiwan Citizen Front: “The new trainee's reserve units are in charge of frontline coastal defense. I think we need to refine our troop needs for this part of our national defense plan.”
Hung Mong-kai, Legislator (KMT): “We call on the national security meeting to not just meet and issue a press release afterwards. If President Tsai is really sincere, she should hold a press conference in person to accept questions from the media.”
However, KMT legislators believe that the national security meeting should not only discuss military service. They pointed out that the central government has three major deficiencies: worsening of law and order, a rampant cyber army, and its failure of epidemic prevention. They ask President Tsai to respond to issues such as power shortages, rising prices, and the increasing wealth gap.