President Tsai Ing-wen announced on Dec. 27 that the compulsory military service period has been extended to one year. However, the DPP legislative caucus is trying to get the change from the government's executive order to a review by the legislature. The opposition parties criticized this as pure politics.
Soldiers practice shooting at targets. President Tsai Ing-wen announced a new military service system on Dec. 27 with the aim of strengthening the military structure. The compulsory military service period has been extended to one year. Opposition parties expressed support for the general direction of reforms, but cautioned that a comprehensive set of measures needs to be formulated and implemented. The TPP said the connection between the studies, military service, and careers of conscripts isn't only an issue for the Ministry of National Defense.
Jang Chyi-lu, Legislator (TPP): “It looks like they're saying they want to give conscripts greater flexibility. Let's say you've completed half of your university studies and you can serve in the middle of your studies. Can students study, and then decide whenever they want to leave? We're also facing a declining birthrate, and there aren't many people in (university) departments to begin with. How are schools going to adapt?”
Chen Ou-po, Legislator (DPP): “For major issues that affect the country, you can't have a single party working on them in isolation. You need to make things public and create opportunities for discussions. ”
The government was originally going to issue an executive order to implement the new military service system, but the DPP legislative caucus is trying to get this changed so that the new system will have to be reviewed by the legislature. The TPP criticized this as pure politics, and the KMT also had something to say.
William Tseng, Legislator (KMT): “Let's say the DPP caucus turns it into a review. If that happens, we have to look into two issues. The first is, was the announced executive order illegal? The second is that we may have to further investigate political responsibility.”
National Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng called on the KMT legislative caucus on Dec. 28 to seek support for the service extension. KMT Legislator William Tseng said Chiu is welcome, but he's half a step behind. There are reports that males born in 2004 and before are rushing to complete their military service before 2024 while it's still four months long. The acting interior minister said the service time is based on the year of birth, so there's no need to rush.
Hua Ching-chun, Acting Interior Minister: “Under the regulations, the military service period is based on the year of birth, so even if our young friends born before 2004 enlist after 2024, they'll still only have to serve four months.”
The one-year service period will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024. This means that in principle, there's no way for males born in 2005 to enlist next year.