The government is to assess whether the military conscription period needs to be lengthened to bolster Taiwan’s defense capabilities, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) said yesterday.
Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) on Monday told lawmakers that the measure could be vital to the nation’s ability to deal with existential threats.
Ukraine’s resistance against Russian aggression has been an inspiration to Taiwanese and a reminder that the nation’s survival is predicated on the will to defend it, Lo told a news conference following the weekly Cabinet meeting in Taipei.
Photo: Sam Yeh, AFP
The government’s focus is to augment the military reserve by creating mobilization plans and reservist training programs via the All-Out Defense Mobilization Agency, which was activated in January, he said.
However, the government acknowledges that there is a consensus among Taiwanese to extend military conscription and re-evaluate Taiwan’s military system, he said.
The support for conscription is evidence that Taiwanese are united in their resolve to defend the nation’s democracy, he said, adding that the government would proceed with this in mind.
Photo: Sam Yeh, AFP
The Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of National Defense would examine the viability of proposals to extend military service, he said.
Separately yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) at a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee asked Deputy Minister of National Defense Bo Hong-hui (柏鴻輝) when his ministry could be expected to make a decision on lengthening conscription.
A decision to change the terms of military conscription must originate from the whole of government and the defense ministry is not prepared to discuss the issue of its own volition, Bo said.
The assessment should not take more than a year, he said.
Meanwhile, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Liao Wan-ju (廖婉汝) and DPP Legislator Lin Ching-yi (林靜儀) told defense officials at the meeting that a civil defense pamphlet issued by the defense ministry is too brief and has unrealistic instructions.
Instruction to scan QR codes to get information about air raid shelters is questionable, as cell towers and Internet services are likely be targeted in a war, Liao said.
The defense ministry’s pamphlet contains virtually no practical advice for people to survive a war, whereas a Latvian civil defense booklet has 15 pages of useful material, Lin said.
The first edition of the defense ministry’s pamphlet was published to establish first principles, Bo said, adding that no specific instructions can be published before it discusses and tests ideas with local governments.
The annual Wan An air raid drill this year would provide one occasion for the government to gain a clearer picture about what civil defense strategies would be effective, he said.
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