Full voluntary military a global trend: minister
Defense Minister Kao Kuangchi ( ) said yesterday that it is a worldwide trend for countries to convert their militaries into fully volunteer forces as he made his first public appearance after being discharged from hospital after an appendectomy.
During a briefing with President Ma Ying-jeou on the latest progress on the Taiwan military’s ongoing push to transform into a fully voluntary service, Kao said all major democracies around the world have abolished their conscription systems and transformed into fully voluntary forces.
To facilitate Taiwan’s ongoing transformation, Kao said that the government has approved two waves of pay raises last January and this April to serve as a better incentive for signing up.
The salary raise has proved successful as an incentive to boost recruitment as the number shows that a total of 15,024 men and women have decided to join the Armed Forces as volunteer soldiers in 2014, Kao said.
So far this year a total of 6,079 Taiwanese youths have signed up to serve, he said, adding that the military is confident of gradually but steadily meeting the transformation goal.
Kao made the comments during a briefing with Ma yesterday in the Presidential Office. This was his first public appearance following his emergency appendix surgery.
An unidentified military source told local media that Kao, who had undergone an appendectomy to surgically remove his vermiform appendix on June, 15, was discharged from Tri-Service General Hospital on June 19.
Kao did not show up at a joint graduation ceremony held at the R.O.C. Military Academy in Kaohsiung last Tuesday.
He was supposed to be presiding over the ceremony where more than 1,000 military cadets from the Army, Navy and Air Force academies, as well as from the National Defense University and National Defense Medical Center, were graduating.
Military spokesman Luo Shaoho later confirmed to local media that Kao had suffered from acute appendicitis and had to undergo an emergency procedure, which was why he did not show up at the ceremony.
Recovering well from the surgery, Kao is scheduled to preside over a second large-scale rehearsal of a public military display to be held today in Hsinchu in preparation for an official event next month to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the R.O.C.’s victory over Japan in the Second Sino- Japanese War, according military source.
A previous large-scale rehearsal was held at a Hsinchu military parade ground on June 21. Back then the rehearsal was presided over by Chief of the General Staff Yen Defa ( ).
The two rehearsals are meant to prepare the military for the official event that will kick off on July 4, which will be presided over by President Ma.