Military continues to work toward all-volunteer force

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Nov 13, 2012 - Page 3

Work toward the creation of an all-volunteer military service will continue in accordance with the law and there are no plans to reinstate conscription, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.

Citing recent remarks by Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱), an editorial in the Chinese-language China Times said that since plans to create an all-volunteer military by 2015 might not be met, the military could reinstate the two-year conscription program.

The extension of conscription would constitute a regression in reforms, the editorial said, and would place President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in a difficult situation, adding that if Kao’s comments were true, the comments were out of place and Kao should shoulder all responsibility.

The ministry said Kao’s comments were in response to a hypothetical situation raised during a question-and-answer period in the legislature on what would be the options should the nation be unable to finance the voluntary service.

Kao said the ministry had, during the amendment of the Act of Military Service System (兵役法), reserved the possibility of reinstating conscription in times of national danger.

The ministry said that it was still working toward the implementation of the voluntary military service program. The Executive Yuan has already reserved funding for the implementation of the all-volunteer service, the ministry said, adding that it would continue to recruit new personnel and seek to retain more experienced personnel currently serving in the military.

The Executive Yuan would decide future funding, the ministry said, adding it would seek to satisfy the national defense spending budget after balancing the government’s financial status, the central government’s budgets and prioritizing policies.