《TAIPEI TIMES》 Tsai inspects upgraded military training base
/ Staff writer, with CNA, TAICHUNG
President Tsai Ing-wen （蔡英文） yesterday inspected a military training base in Taichung that is being upgraded ahead of implementation next year of a new government policy extending compulsory service to one year.
During Tsai’s tour of the Cheng Kung Lin base, she told a group of trainees that her administration’s decision to extend the service period for conscripts from three months to one year was aimed at “safeguarding the nation’s security and ensuring that Taiwan’s democratic way of life will not be changed.”
As part of an effort to improve the nation’s combat readiness, the military is also updating its training programs, providing conscripts with new helmets and combat vests, and purchasing new mortars, cannons and machine guns, she said.
While the compulsory military service period is to be extended from January, the starting pay of conscripts would also be increased, to NT$20,320 from NT$6,510 per month, to ensure they have enough to cover basic expenses, the president said.
The decision to lengthen the compulsory military service for male Taiwanese is aimed at bolstering the nation’s combat readiness against a potential attack by China, the government said in December last year when it announced the new policy.
The Ministry of National Defense estimated that there would be 9,127 new conscripts next year after the first batch born on or after Jan. 1, 2005, joins the one-year service on Jan. 25.
The conscription service is to comprise eight weeks of boot camp training then assignment to designated units in the army, navy, air force, the ministry’s Information, Communications and Electronic Force, the Military Police, the Political Warfare Bureau or the Medical Affairs Bureau based on their specialties, the ministry said.
Taiwan’s military is mainly a volunteer force of about 215,000, with conscripts serving in a supporting role.
As of 2021, there were 160,000 voluntary military personnel in the armed forces.