Faced with the Chinese threat, Taiwan extends its compulsory military service

Taiwan is preparing its weapons. From 2024, the island will extend compulsory military service from four months to one year, announced Tuesday 27 December President Tsai Ing-wenen, to prepare for growing threats from China. “The current military service of four months is not enough to respond to the constantly and rapidly changing situation”, she said at a press conference. The reform will apply to all men born after the 1st January 2005, she said.

The democratic island of Taiwan, populated by 24 million inhabitants, lives under the constant threat of an invasion from China, which considers it part of its territory to be reconquered one day, and if necessary by force. The announcement comes two days after Chinese military exercises near Taiwan that Beijing says it held in response to the “Provocation” and at one “collision” between Washington and Taipei.

“Peace will not fall from the sky”

“Nobody wants war… but, my compatriots, peace will not fall from the sky”, said the president. Under President Xi Jinping, Beijing has stepped up military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan as relations deteriorated. The prospect of a Chinese invasion is increasingly worrying Westerners and many of China’s neighbors. Re-elected in October for a third term as China’s leader, Xi Jinping made it clear that the “reunification” of Taiwan could not wait for future generations.

In the event of a conflict, the island of Taiwan is largely outnumbered, with 88 000 soldiers in the army, against a million Chinese soldiers, according to Pentagon estimates. Beijing also has a considerable advantage when it comes to military equipment. China and Taiwan have been separated since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, and the Taiwanese president has said joining China is not acceptable to Taiwanese.

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