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Taiwan planning to recruit 18,000 soldiers in 2021

Ministry of National Defense reveals plan to ensure country’s combat readiness

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Taiwan looking to enhance combat readiness by expanding its military. 

Taiwan looking to enhance combat readiness by expanding its military.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Tuesday (March 9) that it is planning to add approximately 18,000 new recruits to the country's military roster this year to enhance its defense capabilities against China.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Major General Xia De-yu (夏德宇) said that Taiwan's armed forces will recruit 18,294 soldiers in 2021. The new recruits will train and serve in nine different units and become commissioned officers, sergeants, and regular service members.

Xia mentioned that the military was able to enlist more troops than it had expected last year. Out of the 21,040 people who joined the military through the MND's recruitment program in 2020, 4,185 are now commissioned officers, 2,009 are sergeants, and 14,846 are volunteer enlisted soldiers.

To lower the impact of Taiwan's low birth rate on conscription, Xia said the MND has increased its effort to attract more high school graduates and university students. The "National Defense Bachelor's Degree Program" allows high school graduates to pursue their studies at top public universities while receiving military training, and the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) is set up for current students at all private and public universities across the country, he explained.

Meanwhile, MND Spokesman Shi Shun-wen (史順文) said that the ministry has begun scheduling official exchanges with international think tanks. He said Taiwan sends its most outstanding soldiers overseas each year to enhance their skills.