TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate and New Taipei Mayor Hou Yu-ih (侯友宜) said on Monday (July 3) that if elected president, he would scrap the planned extension of Taiwan’s compulsory military service and keep it at the current four months.
“If elected president, we must ensure stability and peace on both sides of the strait and restore the four-month military service period,” Hou said on a TVBS broadcast, per UDN.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced the planned increase in December 2022 and said Taiwanese men born after 2005 will be required to serve in the military for one year starting from January 2024, up from the current four months. Hou said this would lead to the uneven distribution of educational resources.
Recent polling indicates Hou is in third place for the presidency, despite representing one of the country’s two major political parties. The same poll shows Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Lai Ching-te (賴清德) in the lead, who has not indicated he would change the policy announced by his would-be predecessor. Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) is polling in second and has not indicated if he supports or opposes the extension.
Meanwhile, recent polling from a leading government-funded military think tank shows high levels of public support for the extension of military service.