Facing China, Taiwan resizes its army by bringing conscription to one year

It is tempting to draw a parallel between the situation in Ukraine prior to the launch of the Russian "Special Military Operation" on February 24, and the present situation in Taiwan living under the increasingly pressing threat of military intervention. Chinese. Indeed, in both cases, these democratic countries face authoritarian regimes with considerable military means, whereas in the absence of a firm alliance treaty and due to a certain complacency on the part of the West vis-à-vis vis-à-vis Beijing and Moscow against a backdrop of economic interests, they are struggling to modernize their armies. Very few Western countries outside the United States have or had the will to challenge China or Russia by selling weapons systems to Ukraine or Taiwan, at the risk of triggering the ire and important economic coercive measures from Beijing and Moscow. In fact, as for the Ukrainian armies on February 24, the Taiwanese armies seem insufficiently prepared and above all under-equipped to face the threat, with a majority of old generation equipment often obsolete on a modern battlefield.

To meet this challenge, both Kyiv and Taipei developed a national defense industry, the first based on the achievements of the Soviet defense industry, the second on a flourishing economy and significant technological potential. Both have been able to develop high-performance equipment, some based on old platforms such as the Ukrainian T-64M tank and its Taiwanese counterpart M60A3 TTS, as well as entirely new systems, such as the Ukrainian Neptune missile or the Taiwanese AIDC F-CK-1 Ching-Kuo fighter. However, both depend today as yesterday, mainly on the goodwill of the great Western military powers to equip them with modern equipment capable of effectively holding back, or even repelling the threat. But there is one area in which the Taiwanese armies lag far behind their Ukrainian counterparts today, that of manpower and operational readiness.

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Since 2015, Ukrainian conscripts had mostly passed through the front line in the Donbass against Russian separatists.

Indeed, following the setbacks recorded in the Donbass in 2014 and 2015 against Russian line units, Kyiv implemented a very effective strategy to quickly develop a mobilization capacity that was both effective and seasoned, through strict conscription. from 12 to 18 months, and from a passage of a few weeks to a few months for each conscript on the front line in the latent war that the Ukrainians and Russians had been waging in the Donbass ever since. In addition, the Ukrainian military and political authorities developed numerous territorial brigades, made up of former reservists and volunteers, capable of being mobilized quickly in the event of aggression, in particular to reinforce the defense of large urban centers. In fact, from the start of the Russian aggression, Kyiv was able to quickly mobilize a large number of fighters, some with effective training and even real combat experience, in structures close to those of the Western armies with a large corps of experienced non-commissioned officers and officers. Of course, the vast majority of these hastily formed units only had weak, often obsolete armament at the start of the conflict, making them incapable of carrying out offensive operations or maneuvers of any kind. However, by ensuring the hardening of the defense of the urban centers, and by freeing from this mission the line units of the Ukrainian Army better equipped, these units contributed effectively to stopping the Russian advance against Kyiv, Kherson or Mykolaiev.

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