The Republic of China is planning to convert Taiwan’s military into an all-volunteer force by 2013.

The scheme, scheduled to commence in 2010 will annually reduce the number of conscripts until an all-volunteer force is established.

At present the proportion of conscripts serving in the military stand at 40%. The Ministry of National Defence (MND) plans to reduce this to zero by 2013.

Defence Minister Chen Chao-Min has called for the number of troops to be reduced to around 200,000 from today’s 300,000. Chao-Min has also stated that further preparation for military spending and restructuring for the military forces is needed.

The MND will require volunteers to serve four years, with an option to apply for non-commissioned officer after completing the first year of service.

The proposed monthly pay for a volunteer will be double the minimum wage set by government.

Males who do not volunteer will still be required to complete three to four months basic military training when they reach military age.

Individuals will also be able to apply for substitute service in place of military service.

Substitute service can either be general, which includes domestic security and social service or it can be in research and development, which includes serving in government agencies, public and private research centres and universities.

By Daniel Garrun