Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) on Saturday said he hoped the new reservist training regimen launched a week earlier would boost the country’s combat readiness.
The reserve force plays an important part in Taiwan’s defense, but the training provided previously was insufficient, because it only lasted five to seven days, Chiu said after watching reservists conduct a drill at a shooting range in New Taipei City’s Linkou District (林口).
Reservists in Taiwan were previously required to train for five to seven days, four times in eight years.
Under the new program, they would train for 14 days once a year and participate in more intensive drills.
The military would monitor the results to see if the new regimen improves the combat readiness of reservists.
Saturday’s drill, which simulated defending a beach against an attack, was performed by some of the 400 reservists who started the new 14-day training program on March 6.
Chiu was also asked whether future reservist drills might include the FIM-92 Stinger or anti-tank guided missiles, which have reportedly played a critical role in Ukraine’s resistance against Russia’s invasion.
He sidestepped the question, saying only that the military would consider training with different types of weapons that are available to the military and can contribute to Taiwan’s defense.
After observing the training, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said the situation in Ukraine showed that in addition to international support and assistance, a country’s defense depends on the unity of its people.
She said she hoped that the new training regimen would nurture a stronger sense of unity and responsibility among reservists in protecting their homeland.
The Ministry of National Defense has been heavily promoting the new scheme on social media, showing pictures of reservists carrying out live-fire drills, and being greeted by children waving flags and shouting messages of support.
The ministry plans to have about 15,000 reservists participate in the new training regimen at the 24 battalions across Taiwan this year, while another 97,000 reservists would train under the original five to seven-day program.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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