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Taiwan's Ministry of Defense weighing up new conscription, recruitment plans

Defense minister says no concrete steps to join RIMPAC yet

Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng.

Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) on Wednesday (Dec. 08) that the decision to launch a new conscription drive or troop enlistment plan is not his alone to decide.

Chiu said he is listening to people with differing positions on the matter and considering the views of the public too. He added that the Ministry is assessing the surrounding circumstances at this point in time, according to a UDN report.

The statement comes after recent calls for Taiwan to consider beefing up its ranks in response to the increasingly hostile military actions of China. Both schemes have been called for — conscription, which is typically compulsory, and enlistment, mainly voluntary.

Speaking about a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in September calling for Taiwan to join in the 2022 Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) military exercises, Chiu said he has not yet seen the contents of the proposed plan. When the time comes, the Ministry will evaluate it according to Taiwan’s interests and make a decision accordingly, he says.

Chiu attended a special joint meeting on Wednesday about Taiwan's “naval and air combat power enhancement plan.” The special budget includes several items, originally in the Ministry’s annual budget, and includes measures for shore-based anti-ship missiles, among other assets.

Lee Shi-chiang (李世強), the chief of the Ministry’s wartime regulations bureau, said it is now necessary to expand the production of all missiles to adapt to an "emergency war" scenario. These costs will also be factored in when planning the budget.