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Military to meet 90% of enlistment goal by 2020: minister

ROC Central News Agency

2017/10/11 15:23:58

Taipei, Oct. 11 (CNA) The military is expected to reach at least 90 percent of its enlistment target by 2020, Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) said Wednesday at a legislative hearing in response to concerns over a shortage of soldiers and military officers.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said the ministry's reports to the Legislature repeatedly stress that the military has met or even exceeded its recruiting and retention goals, but the military has in fact not attracted enough commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers and volunteer soldiers.

Taiwan's military academies and military schools, for example, enrolled 3,083 students for the 2017 school year, meeting about 66 percent of the enrollment target of 4,692, Lo added.

Among them, the ROC Military Academy reached only 47 percent of its enrollment goal, while National Defense University reached 56 percent and the Army Academy ROC met 58 percent of their goals, according to Lo.

Citing a report by the "Journalist" magazine, Lo also said the military had planned to recruit 1,476 people doing their military service into military officer programs this year in two stages, but only enlisted a single-digit number of volunteers in the first phase.

Also, only a double-digit number of university graduates signed up for the reserve officer program, the magazine said, according to Lo.

The ministry confirmed the report, saying that only eight people signed up for the military officer program and only 97 reserve officers were enrolled.

In response to a question by Legislator Chiang Chi-chen (江啟臣) of the opposition Kuomintang as to whether the military will be able to fully meet military recruitment targets by 2020, Feng said the military expected to reach at least 90 percent of the target.

Asked to comment on media reports about a new book by an American analyst who says China has a secret plan to invade Taiwan by 2020, Feng said he had never heard such a thing, adding that the analyst might have been misinterpreted.

(By Lu Hsin-hui and Evelyn Kao)

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