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2004-02-24 16:02:17

    Taipei, Feb. 24 (CNA) A spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense explained Tuesday the factors involved in charting the nation's military service system in response to presidential candidate Lien Chan's call to make significant changes.

    Maj. Gen. Huang Suey-sheng said that while he was a spokesman for the defense ministry, he could not make comments on behalf of the ministry on the particular stances of the candidates running for president; however, he did say that he could respond as an individual.

    Kuomintang candidate Lien Chan said in a debate last weekend with President Chen Shui-bian that he advocated a system of recruitment or draft for the armed forces to encourage more career soldiers and said that compulsory military service should be shortened to three months instead of the current 22 months.

    Huang said that the ROC military uses four considerations when making its policy on calling and maintaining a standing army.

    These are: the size of the enemy threat, the defense budget, the replacement of soldiers at peacetime and reservists that can be mobilized at wartime, and the commitment of the nation's youth to serve.

    Huang said the defense ministry has recently studied the conscription and recruitment systems, and that the ministry is already planning to shift the bulk of its forces to recruits, while reservists will mainly be composed of conscripts.

(By Lilian Wu)


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