Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen Tuesday announced a plan to strengthen and restructure the nation’s military defence strategies, including extending the current mandatory conscription period from four months to one year. Beginning in 2024, all males born after January 1, 2005, will need to undergo a year-long conscription.In light of China’s recent military threats and expansion, especially the firing of ballistic missiles into the waters of Taiwan in August, Tsai stressed the need for Taiwan to be well-prepared for war as a means to avoid confrontation. Tsai commented that reviving the year-long mandatory military service was a very difficult decision to make, but Tsai emphasised her inescapable duty to defend national security and protect the country’s utmost interest as Commander-in-Chief.The new program would also model new training methods after the US military to strengthen conscripts’ training in modern weapons, real-life combats, shooting, joint military exercises and civil defence.Tsai proposed three concurrent policies to increase incentives for conscripts, including a salary hike from 6,510 NTD (212 USD) to 25,307 NTD (824 USD); introduction of a new statutory amendment to include conscription salary in the current Labour Pension System; and strengthened relationships with academic institutions to offer flexibility to students who wish to continue their studies during service or resume their studies afterwards.

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