Military officers, lawmakers and US military consultants worry that the government's policy to shorten the duration of compulsory military service will impact the nation's defense capabilities.
The Ministry of National Defense remains optimistic.
Minister of National Defense Lee Tien-yu (李天羽) confirmed last Tuesday that effective July 1, compulsory military service will be reduced to 14 months. The ministry has been contemplating a further reduction in the duration of compulsory service to 12 months, starting on Jan. 1 next year.
In order to fill the vacancies engendered by these reductions, the ministry intends to recruit more career military personnel.
"Our policy for the next year is to decrease the duration of compulsory military service to 12 months. But, to make that happen, the bottom line is that at least 45,561 career soldiers need to be recruited to fill those positions," Vice Minister of National Defense Ko Cheng-heng (
"This is simply a transition period. As for its [negative] impact on national defense, we will do our best to prevent that," he said.
Lawmakers, US military consultants and many local military officers, however, were apprehensive at the policy.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (
"Everybody knows that it takes time to recruit and train a civilian to become a qualified soldier," Lin said.
"What the government has done makes me worry that the military may not have enough time to recruit and train qualified soldiers," he said.
"National defense is a serious matter. It should not be used for electioneering," Lin said.
More than 280,000 military personnel and 10,000 reserves participated in this year's Han Kuang military exercises, which were held two months ago.
Also present were former US Pacific Command commander-in-chief Admiral Dennis Blair and a group of US military consultants, who provided advice.
The Chinese-language China Times reported yesterday that US officials said that they had been surprised that the reserves had performed a lot better during the exercises than did service personnel.
They were also worried that the reduction in compulsory military service would further degrade performance, the newspaper said.
A high-ranking military official from the ministry who wished to remain anonymous confirmed the news. Echoing the concerns of US military consultants, he highlighted the difficulty of maintaining proper training amid cuts in service time.
"In all honesty, I was not surprised the reserve officers did a better job than service members," the official said.
He said that the majority of reserve personnel who participated in the exercise had done two years of compulsory service.
It was therefore natural, the official said, for those soldiers to have performed better than their counterparts.
Starting on July 1, the official said, military boot camps will only have 35 days to give basic training to new soldiers.
After that, at the request of their units the new soldiers will likely be sent on various advanced training courses for a period of six to eight weeks, he said.
Once all the training courses are completed, a soldier doing his compulsory service will only have about nine months left before he is dismissed from the military and becomes a reserve, he said.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday tweeted a welcome to Somaliland’s first representative to Taiwan, Mohamed Omar Hagi Mohamoud, who arrived on Friday. Mohamoud had “braved Chinese pressure” to take up his new post, Wu wrote. “The fact ‘sovereignty & friendship aren’t for sale’ deserves international recognition,” referring to a Somaliland media report earlier this month that Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi had rejected an offer by the Chinese government in exchange for ending its rapprochement with Taiwan. Wu also thanked the US National Security Council (NSC) for praising Taiwan-Somaliland ties. A council tweet on July 10 praised Taiwan
The US on Thursday removed a warning against all international travel, and placed Taiwan on a list of 13 destinations where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is “very low.” The list was compiled almost five months after the US Department of State issued a “global level 4 health advisory,” urging US citizens to avoid all international travel. On Thursday, the department announced that it was lifting the advisory, saying that “with health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the Department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice.” The US