BREAKING WORLD WAR III NEWS: TAIWAN FACES SERIOUS PROBLEM THAT MONEY AND MILITARY EQUIPMENT CAN’T SOLVE: THEY HAVE A FERTILITY PROBLEM; THEY ARE STRUGGLING TO RECRUIT ENOUGH YOUNG MEN TO FIGHT 

A military cadet graduates in Taipei, Taiwan, in 2018.

BREAKING WORLD WAR III NEWS: TAIWAN FACES SERIOUS PROBLEM THAT MONEY AND MILITARY EQUIPMENT CAN’T SOLVE: THEY HAVE A FERTILITY PROBLEM; THEY ARE STRUGGLING TO RECRUIT ENOUGH YOUNG MEN TO FIGHT 

 

Taiwan has noticed a hole in its defense plans that is steadily getting bigger. And it’s not one easily plugged by boosting the budget or buying more weapons.

The island democracy of 23.5 million is facing an increasing challenge in recruiting enough young men to meet its military targets and its Interior Ministry has suggested the problem is – at least in part – due to its stubbornly low birth rate.

Taiwan’s population fell for the first time in 2020, according to the ministry, which warned earlier this year that the 2022 military intake would be the lowest in a decade and that a continued drop in the youth population would pose a “huge challenge” for the future.

That’s bad news at a time when Taiwan is trying to bolster its forces to deter any potential invasion by China, whose ruling Communist Party has been making increasingly belligerent noises about its determination to “reunify” with the self-governed island – which it has never controlled – by force if necessary.

And the outlook has darkened further with the release of a new report by Taiwan’s National Development Council projecting that by 2035 the island can expect roughly 20,000 fewer births per year than the 153,820 it recorded in 2021. By 2035, Taiwan will also overtake South Korea as the jurisdiction with the world’s lowest birth rate, the report added.

Such projections are feeding into a debate over whether the government should increase the period of mandatory military service that eligible young men must serve. Currently, the island has a professional military force made up of 162,000 (as of June this year) – 7,000 fewer than the target, according to a report by the Legislative Yuan. In addition to that number, all eligible men must serve four months of training as reservists.

Changing the mandatory service requirement would be a major U-turn for Taiwan, which had previously been trying to cut down on conscription and shortened the mandatory service from 12 months as recently as 2018. But on Wednesday, Taiwan’s Minister of National Defence Chiu Kuo-cheng said such plans would be made public before the end of the year.

That news has met with opposition among some young students in Taiwan, who have voiced their frustrations on PTT, Taiwan’s version of Reddit, even if there is support for the move among the wider public.

Source: CNN, Eric Cheung

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