• Directory of Taiwan

Policy revision will not mean student soldiers: Taiwan premier

National defense mobilization law changes cause public concern

Hsinchu high school students participate in military training. (DW photo)

Hsinchu high school students participate in military training. (DW photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) has said that revisions to Taiwan’s national defense mobilization policy will not mean students will be called to fight in the event of a conflict.

A draft of proposed revisions to the “All-out Defense Mobilization Readiness Act” was released late last month that included requirements that various public and private entities deepen cooperation with the government, jail time and fines for those who do not comply with defense mobilization orders, and the same for spreading misinformation. Following the revisions, some media reported that students over the age of 16 would be called to fight in so-called “baby soldier combat groups,” causing concern.

Chen spoke at Taiwan’s legislature today (March 3) telling CNA that there was “absolutely no question” of calling students to the battlefield or to make weapons. He said that during the preliminary stages of revision he would be collecting opinions and having discussions from different groups throughout society.

Draft revisions of Taiwan’s laws are made available to the public for a minimum of 14 days. The revisions are expected to be submitted to the legislature and Cabinet for debate on March 6.