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Taiwan Commences One-Year Mandatory Military Service with Buzz Cuts

Taiwan has initiated its one-year mandatory military service, with the first batch of recruits arriving in Taichung for extended training. The extension from four months to one year was introduced in 2022 as part of President Tsai Ing-wen’s efforts to strengthen the island’s defenses amid increased Chinese aggression. The conscripts, carrying duffel bags, underwent a traditional ritual of buzz cuts before heading to boot camp.

Despite being a self-ruled island with its government and military, China claims Taiwan as its territory and has escalated rhetoric on “unification.” The first group of 670 recruits will undergo eight weeks of training before transferring to different branches of the military.