China has threatened to impose sanctions on US companies involved in a massive arms deal with Taiwan, and accused the US of interference in domestic affairs after the State Department approved the biggest sale of arms to the island in decades.

In December 2016, the Defense Minister of Taiwan, Feng Shih-kuan, announced that 2017 will be the last year young men will be required to serve in the military and that by 2018 military conscription will be abolished in the country.

The government of Taiwan has again post-poned plans to end conscription, because 'recruitment targets could not be met'. The Taiwanese military had originally planned to end conscription for those born after 1 January 1994 on the 1st January 2016, but this will now be moved back until at least the end of the year. The government delayed plans to move to an 'all volunteer' military in September 2013.

Plans for conscription to be suspended in Taiwan have been delayed. This is due to 'recruitment difficulties'. The Ministry of Defence have apparently experienced difficulties recruiting sufficient volunteers in the past 20 months since the plan was approved the plan last year and has been forced to defer implementation.

The project was originally scheduled for completion at the end of 2014, with a formal launch at the start of 2015. It is likely to be delayed for at least one year.

Taiwanese men born after 1994 will not be drafted to serve a full year starting next year as Taipei seeks to end conscription in a shift towards building a “stronger, smaller, smarter” army. Conscripted soldiers make up around 60% of Taiwan’s military.

However, they will still be enlisted for four months of training 'until deciding on whether to pursue a military career and serve the country' – our CO Update from 2010 aptly called this move 'How not to abolish conscription'. The changes will cut the army down from 270,000 to 215,000 soldiers.

Taiwan claims to abolish conscription from 1 January 2015 on. However, a closer look reveals that this is not really the case. Potential conscripts born in 1994 or later would only have to undergo four months of basic military training, reports said. Those born before who had not served yet, would still be expected to serve for one year, Ministry of National Defense personnel chief Chao Ko-ta told lawmakers according to Taiwan News.

China Post reported on 13 March that Taiwan is to abolish conscription by 2014. Minister of National Defense, Chen Chao-ming, announced that Taiwan's military will become an all-volunteer force within five years. Speaking to a military committee under the Legislative Yuan, Minster Chen explained that the process would commence in 2011 and by 2014 all divisions of the R.O.C. Armed Forces will be filled with career soldiers instead of conscripts. However, a more detailed look at the announcement reveals that conscription won't be abolished completely.

A draft amendment to Taiwan's Conscription Act was passed
preliminarily by a legislative committee on 3 December 2008, shortening
the term of conscription from one year and two months to one year. 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

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said on 29 July 2008 that he hopes to change to a voluntary draft system in four to six years. Presently Taiwan's young men who turn 18 or graduate from college are required to serve in the military for one year.

Ma said that college graduates in the IT and electronics fields tend to forget half of what they learn after their conscription term. Not only that, what they have learned will be outdated by the time they go into the workforce.

The proposal by oppositional Taiwanese presidential candidate Ma Ying-yeou to phase out conscription in Taiwan and turn the Taiwanese military into an all-volunteer military by 2014 met with careful agreement from the Ministry of Defense of the country, and sparked a debate about conscription.

"The biggest advantage of an all-volunteer force is that the majority of male citizens of conscriptable age won't be drafted.

Day 1 (Sunday, 26 June): Peace in North East Asia (Opening Panel)

The opening panel will introduce the different security threats and peace related issues of the region to the international and regional audience and also introduce concept of non-violent resistance, which WRI has pursued so far, and will contribute to peace movement in this region. For this panel, we aim to get speakers from South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China and WRI members.

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