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Taiwan to shorten conscription term to one year

Taiwan to shorten conscription term to one year

A draft amendment to Taiwan's Conscription Act was passed preliminarily by a legislative committee Wednesday, shortening the term of conscription from one year and two months to one year.
The Legislative Yuan's Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee passed preliminarily the draft amendment to Article 16 of the Conscription Act, calling for the shortening of the conscription period to one year, beginning January 2009.
Lu Shiow-yen, a legislator from the ruling Kuomintang, which controls nearly three-fourths of the legislative seats, said the amendment is adopted in response to the government's policy of continuously shortening the draft period.
Since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, Taiwan's government has required young men over the age of 18 to undergo military training, due to the threat of possible attacks from its rival China.
The Ministry of National Defense began to shorten the term of conscription in 2004, when the period of mandatory military service was reduced from one year and 10 months to one year and eight months.
By January 2007, the term was shortened to one year and four months and as of July 2007, it was further shortened to one year and two months.
The shortening of the conscription period is part of the government's efforts to downsize Taiwan's armed forces, with a target of cutting the number of troops to fewer than 300,000 by 2009.
Relations between Taiwan and China have improved this year, following the election of President Ma Ying-jeou, who has made reducing tensions and improving ties with China one of his key policies.