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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Taiwan ends conscription

NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)

Wednesday, December 26, 13:50

Taiwan ended its compulsory military service on Wednesday. Defense officials say they are on track to an all-volunteer military.

Taiwan adopted a conscription policy in 1951 after Taiwan and mainland China split two years earlier.

Men 18 years or older were initially conscripted for two to three years of service. The period was shortened to a year in 2008, due to a lower birthrate and other factors.

In 2011, under the government of President Ma Ying-jeou, who pursued stronger ties with Beijing, relevant laws were revised to replace the one-year conscription with four months of mandatory military training. Ma cited a dramatic easing of tension across the strait. The government started to replace serving conscripts with volunteers.

The last group of 412 conscripts was discharged by Wednesday, effectively ending the conscription system.

Defense officials say they can enlist 90 percent of the 188,000 troops they require with volunteers.

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