Taiwan is preparing to extend the period of compulsory military service from four months to one year, according to a senior government official.

The official told Reuters the change was among a number to be discussed at a national security meeting later today.

The meeting, called by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, is expected to discuss ways to boost the island’s defense capabilities in the face of growing pressure from China.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen delivers a speech to mark National Day on October 10, 2022 in Taipei, Taiwan.  REUTERS/Ann Wang
President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen

A Reuters source said: “China’s various unilateral behaviors have become a major concern for regional security.”

The changes will take effect in 2024, the official said, and will include stricter training for recruits, combat instructions used by U.S. forces and more rigorous shooting exercises.

Ms. Tsai’s office confirmed the meeting and said she would announce the steps at a news conference later, but Taiwan’s defense ministry declined to comment.

Taiwan’s defense priorities differed at a time when tensions appeared to be easing – compulsory military service was cut from two years to four months to appeal to younger voters, while the army itself was slowly being recruited. Wally went from force to professional.

But China has stepped up its military harassment of the island in recent years, and Ms Tsai’s security team has been monitoring Taiwan’s military since 2020.

Read more:
Could Taiwan be the next Ukraine?

President Tsai Ing-wen vowed to make an ‘ultimate effort’ to defend the country from China.

on Monday, More than 70 Chinese aircraft planned to enter Taiwan’s air defense zone – China’s largest infiltration ever.

China held military exercises near Taiwan in August, in response to a visit to Taipei by then US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The Chinese government maintains that the Republic of Taiwan should return to China, and has increased its military harassment of the island in recent years.

But Taiwan rejects China’s sovereignty claims.

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