1: taiwan’s president tsai ing-wen announced plans to extend mandatory military service from four months to one year in order to bolster the island’s defence in the event of an attack from beijing. conscripts will undergo more intense training, borrowing some elements from the us and other advanced militaries.
2: the new rule will take effect in january 2024, the same month taiwan will elect its next president. tensions between taipei and beijing have been rising since august following a visit to the island by us speaker of the house of representatives nancy pelosi. china responded by holding its biggest-ever military exercises in the seas around taiwan.
3: taiwan has become a flashpoint in us-china relations given the island’s close ties to washington. it was believed to have been a major discussion point when chinese president xi jinping met us president joe biden at the g20 summit in november. taiwan’s current defence system was inadequate to cope with aggression from china, which has one of the world’s largest and most advanced militaries.