One such concern is the lack of preparation and low morale among the roughly 80,000 active-duty servicemen and over two million army reservists.
Xiao Cheng-Zhi, a 26-year-old who participated in Taiwan’s basic military training, revealed to the newspaper that his four months of training mainly involved moving spare tires, sweeping leaves, and pulling weeds, in addition to some marksmanship exercises. He expressed doubts that the island would stand much chance against well-trained Chinese soldiers.
Aside from Xiao, several Taiwanese soldiers and reservists have expressed concerns about the quality of their training and the small nation’s combat readiness. One disclosed that he simply watched American war movies during training.
Another whistleblower claims that he spent a lot of time reading and drawing during basic training, as he felt like there was nothing in training to concern himself about.
A retired US Marine Corps colonel who went to Taiwan to evaluate its defense capabilities told The Wall Street Journal that the island has a “solid core” of well-trained troops ready for a potential war. However, he believes that Taiwan’s military lacks sufficient funding from the government.
He suggested increasing soldiers’ salaries and improving bilateral training with the US and other allied forces to address combat readiness concerns.
Furthermore, some military strategists have suggested that Taiwan implement a conscription system similar to Israel’s, whose population is less than half of Taiwan’s.
Despite these urgent concerns, Taiwan features some military advantages, including having limited beaches that can be used for large-scale amphibious landings by enemy forces.
The island also has the support of the US government, which said it would defend Taiwan if the country were attacked by China.