Amid China Threat, Broad Support for Extension of Military Service in Taiwan

 

Tracking Global Events | 18 January 2023

In late December, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen announced that the country would extend mandatory military service from four months to one year. This decision comes amid a backdrop of heightened tensions, increased rhetoric, and more frequent military activity in the Taiwan Strait. The announced change marks a stark policy shift for Taiwan, which had recently shortened conscription to four months in 2018. To better understand Taiwanese sentiment on Cross-Strait relations and mandatory military service, Premise deployed a survey on the topic.

Insights

  • Among respondents, 25% strongly agree and 39% somewhat agree with the decision to extend compulsory military service in Taiwan; only 9% somewhat or strongly disagree.
  • Overall, more than 78% agree that Taiwan should have conscription in some form.
  • Sentiment towards the country’s ability to defend itself was mixed, with 5% responding “very good” and 35% responding “good” when asked “How do you rate Taiwan’s military ability to defend Taiwan?”
  • A vast majority of respondents believe that “Taiwan’s military needs reform”; 73% strongly or somewhat agree, while only 3% strongly or somewhat disagree.
  • Currently, only men are required to serve in the military. Women are allowed to join the military and reserves, but are not required to serve. When asked if “women should also be required,” only 33% strongly or somewhat agree.

Agree or disagree with decision to extend compulsory military service?

Agree or disagree: “Taiwan’s military needs reform”

Methodology

Premise collected sentiment data about mandatory military service in Taiwan, receiving 1000 responses between January 11th and 13th. This survey utilized a convenience sample, a type of nonprobability sampling that is hyper efficient in dynamic events, involving the sample being drawn from the population that is ready to assist

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