Taiwan will announce an extension of compulsory military service from four months to one year on Tuesday, local media said.
According to the semi-official agency CNA, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is scheduled to announce the longer mandatory term for all adult men on Tuesday afternoon (local time) in a press conference ahead of a high-level security meeting. According to reports, the reason for the extension is the threat posed by an increasingly hostile China.
The change could go into effect in January 2024 if official notification is made in the coming month, CNA further reported. Taiwan’s presidential office said Monday that a proposal “to adjust the structure” of national defense is on the agenda.
Taiwan is under increasing pressure from Beijing, which regards the island, which has been split off since 1949, as a breakaway territory and wants to reunite it with mainland China – if necessary using military force. The visit of senior US politician Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan in August heightened tensions between the US and China.
The Taiwan security meeting comes two days after a large-scale military exercise China held near Taiwan. According to a Chinese army spokesman, it was a “robust response to increasing collusion and provocation by the US and Taiwanese authorities.”
Conscription was once extremely unpopular in Taiwan. Aiming at creating a mostly volunteer army, the previous government had cut the service from one year to four months. However, recent polls show that more than three-quarters of the Taiwanese public think that’s not enough.