Taiwan Opens Military Reservist Training to Women Amid Communist China’s Provocations

Taiwan Opens Military Reservist Training to Women Amid Communist China’s Provocations
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen visits army reservist troop during a training in Nanshipu, Taiwan, on March 12, 2022. (Ann Wang/Reuters)
Aldgra Fredly
1/18/2023
Updated:
1/19/2023
0:00

Taiwan’s Defense Ministry stated on Jan. 17 that it will allow women to enroll in military reservist training for the first time as the self-governing island seeks to bolster its forces amid threats posed by the Chinese communist regime.

The ministry will allow about 200 discharged female military personnel and 500 male reservists to participate in the voluntary training, which will begin in the second quarter of 2023, Taipei Times reported on Jan. 18.

The dual-track training program, which began last year, consists of two weeks of training as opposed to the previous five to seven days. Under the new program, volunteer reservists can choose a one- or two-week training period.

Maj. Gen. Yu Wen-cheng, a division head of the ministry’s All-Out Defense Mobilization Agency, said it will be the first time that female reservists would be allowed to participate in the training.

“We will plan the training capacities according to the number of applicants,” Yu was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse.

Currently, the reservist training is only mandatory for male reservists, with participation determined by a lottery draw. Women can join the armed forces voluntarily and serve as soldiers or officers.

Local media reported that Taiwan had about 8,915 women listed as reservists as of 2021 and that women make up 15 percent of Taiwan’s 180,000 active military personnel, citing Taiwan’s military data.

Compulsory Military Service

The program follows Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s announcement on Dec. 27, 2022, that her government would extend the island nation’s compulsory military service to a year from four months in 2024.

The moves come as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ramps up military, diplomatic, and economic pressure on Taiwan to assert its sovereignty claims, including almost daily Chinese air force missions near the island over the past three years.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen visits soldiers at a military base in New Taipei City, Taiwan, on Aug. 23, 2022. (Taiwan Presidential Office/Handout via Reuters)
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen visits soldiers at a military base in New Taipei City, Taiwan, on Aug. 23, 2022. (Taiwan Presidential Office/Handout via Reuters)

Tsai said Taiwan wants peace but needs to be able to defend itself.

“As long as Taiwan is strong enough, it will be the home of democracy and freedom all over the world, and it will not become a battlefield,” she told a press conference announcing the decision to extend the conscription period, which she described as “incredibly difficult.”

Tsai noted that the current military system, including training reservists, is inefficient and insufficient to cope with the CCP’s rising military threat, especially if it launched a rapid attack on the island.

“Taiwan wants to tell the world that between democracy and dictatorship, we firmly believe in democracy. Between war and peace, we insist on peace. Let us show the courage and determination to protect our homeland and defend democracy,” she said.

Conscripts will undergo more intense training, including shooting exercises, combat instruction used by U.S. forces, and operating more powerful weapons, including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and anti-tank missiles, according to Tsai.

Soldiers stage an attack during an annual drill at the military base in Hualien, Taiwan, on Jan. 30, 2018. (Mandy Cheng/AFP/Getty Images)
Soldiers stage an attack during an annual drill at the military base in Hualien, Taiwan, on Jan. 30, 2018. (Mandy Cheng/AFP/Getty Images)
Taiwan has been a self-governing democracy since the Chinese civil war ended in 1949. Still, the CCP views Taiwan as a breakaway province that must be united with mainland China by any means necessary.
The CCP regularly uses its military to intimidate Taiwan, as seen on Dec. 25, 2022, when it sent 71 planes and seven ships toward the island in its largest show of force since former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) visited Taiwan in August 2022.
Beijing deployed 57 aircraft and four naval vessels around Taiwan on Jan. 8, with 28 of the warplanes crossing the Taiwan Strait median line. The Chinese military said the goal of the drills was to counter what it called “provocative actions” by Taiwan and external forces.

But Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said the Chinese military’s “false accusation and irrational provocation” had severely destabilized regional security and reiterated that Taiwan seeks “neither escalation nor conflict” with the CCP regime.

Reuters contributed to this report.
Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer covering U.S. and Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.
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