Thu, Nov 13, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Conscript service to become shorter: defense minister

By Brian Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Minister of National Defense Tang Yao-ming (湯曜明) said yesterday that the compulsory military service term of 22 months, to be shortened by two months on Jan. 1, will eventually become even shorter.

"Although the reduction of the term of military service is based on an executive order, I guarantee that the service term will not return to the current level of one year and 10 months. It will become even shorter than the term of one year and eight months which will start next year," Tang said.

"The Ministry of National Defense will follow this principle for the years to come. We are able to allow for a shorter term of service because the demand for troops has been dropping," he said.

Tang made the remarks at a meeting of the legislature's National Defense Committee in response to an inquiry from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) if the ministry was serious about short-ening the service term for conscripts by two months.

An amendment to the Conscription Law (兵役法) shortened the length of compulsory service to 22 months from the two-year term. The dropping of another two months was not based on a change to the law, however, but on an executive order.

Tang announced the plan earlier this year at the legislature. Yesterday he said the service term will become even shorter, but it did not say what the bottom line would be.

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