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Cross-strait conflict with China: Taiwan extends mandatory military service
File image by Taiwanese Presidential Palace on Flickr via Wikimedia Commons

Cross-strait conflict with China: Taiwan extends mandatory military service

| @indiablooms | 27 Dec 2022, 07:36 pm

Taipei: The Taiwanese government is going to extend its mandatory military service to one year to better train soldiers to take on mainland Chinese forces in the event of a cross-strait conflict, media reports said on Tuesday.

Under the plan, men aged 18 and above will be required to serve for one year instead of four months beginning in 2024, when the self-ruled island will elect a new president, reports South China Morning Post.

“I must admit it is a highly difficult decision to make, but as a president and commander-in-chief of our forces, I must do so to uphold the interest of the nation and the persistent survival of Taiwan as well as the free [people] living in the generations to come. This is my responsibility as president,” Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen was quoted as saying by the newspaper when asked if the plan would sabotage her party’s chances in the election.

A legislative source told the newspaper monthly pay for the conscripts would be raised to just over NT$20,000 (US$651) from NT$6,500.

“Combat instructions currently used by the US military will be included as part of the training for the conscripts under the plan aimed at overhauling the structure of the military forces,” the source said on Tuesday.

What is the basis of China’s claim over Taiwan?

The basis of China’s claim over Taiwan dates back to 1945 when Japan lost its control over the island in 1945,post-World War Two.

The 1949 Chinese civil war led to communists taking control and Chiang Kai-shek the one who lost fled to Taiwan. He ruled it for many decades. This is where China’s claim to Taiwan emanates.

The very fact that Chiang Kai-shek came to Taiwan and was not indigenous to the place is Taiwan’s argument against the claim.

Why is Taiwan important to China?

“A lot of things actually, which of course are related to Taiwan but not necessarily direct to Taiwan. It's more about (China's) relationship changing with the United States – or we should say Western Countries, mainly the United States and China. Taiwan then happens to become a key player and main actor in this dynamics,” said Alice.

100 miles from the coast of China, Taiwan is an island, that is located in the “first island chain,” this positioning makes it crucial to the US foreign policy.

US-Sino relations hinge on, ‘One China Policy,’ it acknowledges that, “there is only one Chinese Government." The US recognises its formal ties with China. With Taiwan the US shares independent strong “unofficial” relations.

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