All-volunteer military system to be launched in 2015: MND


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan will introduce an all-volunteer military system in 2015, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday.

To pave the way for the new system, the MND will begin a policy assessment process on Jan. 1 that will be completed by the end of 2014, said Chao Ke-ta, head of the ministry’s Department of Manpower, during a hearing held by the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign and National Defense Committee.

Asked whether a planned exchange of visits between China’s People’s Liberation Army and U.S. military officials in January will affect U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, Vice Defense Minister Andrew Yang said the ministry is “cautiously optimistic” about the sales and believes they will not be affected.

According to Yang, high-ranking U.S. officials have on many occasions told Beijing that the issue of arms sales to Taiwan does not fall within the scope of U.S.-China exchanges.

Washington will consider whether to sell certain weapons to Taiwan based on the defense needs of Taiwan and the western Pacific region, Yang said.