- Taiwan’s army has shrunk in size since the early 1990s when conscription was for up to three years.
- President Tsai Ing-wen says the decision to extend the length of military service now is a response to China’s “military aggression”.
- In August, China held its biggest-ever military exercises in waters around Taiwan.
China’s sabre-rattling has intensified in recent years under President Xi Jinping, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has further deepened worries in Taiwan that Beijing might move similarly to annex the island.
The extended requirement will apply to men born after January 1, 2005, Ms Tsai added.
“We can only avoid a war by preparing for a war and we can only stop a war by being capable of fighting a war.”
Taiwan is a mountainous island and would present a formidable challenge to an invading force, but it is massively outgunned with 89,000 ground forces compared with China’s one million, according to a Pentagon estimate released last month.
The military service announcement on Tuesday came two days after Chinese military exercises near Taiwan, which were held in response to what Beijing described as “provocations” and “collusion” between Washington and Taipei.