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Taiwan to set up reserve mobilization agency, expand scope

ROC Central News Agency

04/20/2021 04:55 PM

Taipei, April 20 (CNA) Taiwan's military is scheduled to form a new reserve mobilization agency while expanding its existing scope in mobilizing civilian forces as part of its ongoing reforms to beef up the nation's reserve forces amid the increasing threat from China, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Tuesday.

According to a written report sent to lawmakers for review, the MND is scheduled to integrate two existing military units -- the All-out Defense Mobilization Office and the Armed Forces Reserve Command, into a single Defense Reserve Mobilization Agency by January 2022.

The structural change is part of a military reform to make Taiwan's reserve force a more reliable backup for the regular forces in protecting the country, it said.

Chu Sen-tsuen (朱森村) of the MND's All-out Defense Mobilization Office said that the military is also working with the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) in the hope of amending the Civil Defense Act to expand the scope of civilian forces and volunteers the military can call upon, both during peacetime and at war.

The Civil Defense Act is the legal basis that allows the MND to mobilize civilian forces.

At present, the act drafted by the MOI defines volunteers the MND can mobilize in case of need as volunteer police and volunteer firefighters only.

According to Chu, the MND is hoping that the scope can be expanded to volunteer workers in local Buddhist and Taoist temples, as well as churches, to give the military extra manpower.

Chu said these temple and church volunteers have for decades played an important role in offering post-disaster relief, including preparing food or shelter after major natural disasters or emergencies.

The MND announced in February that beginning in 2022, it will introduce new rules governing the call-up of reservists to improve their combat readiness.

Under the new policy, call-ups will last for two weeks of training rather than the current five to seven days, and can occur every year rather than every two years, as is the current case.

The proposal will begin as a limited trial from 2022-2023 before a full-scale launch in 2024.

Meanwhile, the military is also extending the period during which reservists can be called up from a maximum of four times in eight years to four call-ups in 12 years after being discharged, starting this year.

(By Matt Yu and Joseph Yeh)

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