The decision by the President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-Wen to compulsory military service from four months to one year starting in 2024 is the result of China’s military pressure on Taiwan. Now the United States has offered to help in the situation by extending military training for its people, reported The Hong Kong Post.
Although on the contrary, war experts say that the measures could fall far short of what is needed. A military and cyber affairs consultant for Doublethink Lab, a Taipei-based civil society group Kitsch Liao said that “They are basically going back to what was in place in 2008 before the force reductions started”.
Lao also mentioned that “While you have to give the president credit for reviving that system, they are not addressing the problem of military power, which is the core of deterrence.” Military analysts said the conscription reform was little more than an emergency measure to end a chronic shortfall in military headcount.
Under the training, Taiwan’s people will undergo intense training, shooting exercises and combat instruction used by US forces. In addition to this, the training will also be trained for operating powerful weapons including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank missiles. Conscripts would be tasked with guarding key infrastructure, enabling regular forces to respond more in the event of any attempt by China to invade.
Although this training would be an extension adding an extra 60,000 to 70,000 manpower annually to the current 165,000-strong professional force in 2027 and beyond.
These steps by the Island country may increase head counts but experts believe that China is currently increasing the possibility of a pre-emptive attack by China. Former US deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger was quoted in the Hong Kong Post report who said that sometimes aggressors launch a pre-emptive war against adversaries if there is a fear that they may achieve military superiority.
The report further mentions that in this case, Americans will have to be present in full strength in the South China Sea to avoid the war as much as possible. Anything less will mean no resistance to China. Similarly, Russian President Vladimir Putin knows that NATO does not threaten Russia any more than Taiwan threatens China.