Taiwan To Extend Conscription To One Year

On 27 December, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-Wen announced in her first press conference in over two years, that starting from the first day of 2024, all eligible Taiwanese men born in 2005 and onward will serve one year instead of four months in the Armed Forces. There is also consideration of female conscription ongoing. The President cited the changing security environment of the island as a major factor in the decision, as well as many other moves in military reform and expansion.

The Ministry of Defense raised comparisons between Taiwan’s system to that of other countries’ neighbouring hostile powers, comparing its four months to South Korea’s at least one year, Singapore’s two years and Israel’s two to two and a half years. Also mentioned in the press conference were the Armed Forces of Ukraine, with the President praising Ukrainian resolve and emphasizing the importance of readiness in the maintenance of peace.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Taiwanese foreign minister Joseph Wu takes a selfie
House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island prompted a massive Chinese response

Service pay for conscripts will increase over 30 times to NT$20320 (US$660), as well as more intensive training in greater volume is expected to provide Taiwan with a more resilient force, moreover, Pres. Tsai named the Kestrel, FGM-148 Javelin, and FIM-92 Stinger weapon systems as ones conscripts will have more training on, providing Taiwan with more capable infantry, troops which will be more capable in invasion scenarios.

The announcement comes at the conclusion of a year of rising Chinese rhetoric and action in the Taiwan Strait, with ballistic missile firing all around the island after Speaker Pelosi’s visit in August and near daily warplane flights flying halfway to Taiwan before turning back. Taiwan has been undergoing its own defense reforms at a steady pace, rising the defense budget by 12.9%, procuring more foreign weapon systems and ramping up domestic production of warships.