The extension of compulsory military service in Taiwan, the latest move against the Chinese mainland, will only push the island toward danger, officials and experts said, calling for Taiwan people to oppose separatist attempts.
Local residents expressed strong opposition after the ruling Democratic Progressive Party on the island announced last week that compulsory military service will be extended from four months to one year, starting in 2024.
Claiming the move was to prevent the "threat" from the Chinese mainland, the island's leader Tsai Ing-wen said at a news briefing on Dec 27 that "only by preparing for war can we avoid war".
In response to Tsai's claim, Chang Ya-chung, president of the Sun Yat-sen School in Taiwan, said in a post on Facebook that it is peace that can avoid war and called on the DPP to put aside the war mentality and ensure Taiwan's security by creating peace across the Straits.
He said it would be most beneficial for Taiwan to propose a peace plan and seek political dialogue with the mainland to solve political difficulties.
The American Institute in Taiwan on Dec 27 welcomed the conscription reform, saying the move demonstrates the island is committed to self-defense. It said the United States will continue to assist Taiwan in maintaining its self-defense capability.
Wang Ping-chung, a political commentator of Taiwan's pro-unification New Party, said in a Facebook post that if Taiwan does not seek peace talks with the mainland for reunification, it will only be used as a pawn by the US to provoke the mainland.
The DPP authorities have strengthened the armed forces as the US requires Taiwan to demonstrate its resolve so that it can consider coming to the island's defense against the mainland in the future, he said.
It can be predicted that the DPP, forced by the US, will go further in such provocations, which will not only influence the island's economy and likely intensify cross-Straits confrontation, he added.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a news conference on Wednesday that achieving complete reunification is the shared will of the Chinese people and a historic trend that no one can stop.
"We believe the vast majority of our Taiwan compatriots are fully conscious about what is right for the nation and will not be used as cannon fodder by 'Taiwan independence' separatist forces," he said.
Zhu Fenglian, a spokeswoman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said earlier that DPP authorities constantly incited "fighting against the mainland to protect Taiwan "among residents.
"It was totally political manipulation for the selfish interests of one party," she said. "They claimed they wanted to protect the people of Taiwan, but in fact, they were pushing the people into war."
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