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As the country strengthens its forces against threats from China, Taiwan’s military has announced its plans to allow women in its reservist training for the first time.
On Tuesday, Taipei’s defense ministry permitted about 200 discharged female soldiers to enroll in voluntary reservist training in the second quarter of this year as a means to bolster the nation’s forces.
“This is the first year to include women in the reservists training so this year will be a trial program,” Major General Yu Wen-cheng of the ministry’s All-Out Defense Mobilization Agency said, according to Agence France-Presse. “We will plan the training capacities according to the number of applicants.”
According to Yu, the voluntary programs aim to “strengthen the effectiveness of the retraining of reserve troops in combat skills to help improve the combat capabilities of reservists.”
Taiwan’s first female leader, Tsai Ing-wen, noted that the extension of military service was needed to “ensure the democratic way of life for our future generations.”
“No one wants war… but my fellow countrymen, peace will not fall from the sky,” Tsai said.
In December 2022, Taiwan said it would increase the four-month mandatory military service for men to one year, citing China’s recent threats of military force.
Although women can volunteer to serve in the armed forces, only Taiwanese men are required to complete mandatory military service and reservist training.
Many military analysts have reportedly urged Taiwan to take additional measures to better prepare its civilian population for defense, including allowing women to train.
Taiwan has been living under the constant fear of invasion as Beijing continues to claim Taipei as part of its territory.
In recent years, China’s threats have intensified under President Xi Jinping.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also exacerbated worries in the East Asian island as speculation has swirled that Beijing might move similarly.