Beijing warns Taiwan against using people as ‘cannon fodder’

TEHRAN, Dec. 28 (MNA) – The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Wednesday blasted Taipei’s decision to extend compulsory military service from four months to a year, media reported.

The move will only lead to the island’s population being used as “cannon fodder” to fuel Taiwan’s “separatist” ambitions, its spokesman said, according to Sputnik news agency.

“Struggling for the great task of achieving national reunification is immeasurably significant, dying for Taiwan independence separatist activities is completely worthless,” the ministry’s spokesman, Wang Wenbin, told journalists when asked about Taipei’s decision.

The official then said that Beijing believes “Taiwan compatriots are highly principled, they will not be put up as cannon fodder by Taiwan independence separatist forces.” His words came a day after the self-governing island’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, announced the conscription extension, citing China’s “intimidation and threats against Taiwan.” 

While calling the decision “incredibly difficult,” Tsai maintained the island would need better troops since the current military system is insufficient, particularly in case of a rapid attack on Taiwan. The change, which is expected to take effect in 2024, would see draftees undergoing more rigorous training and learning to use such weapons as Stinger anti-air missiles.

The development comes amid heightened tensions in the region. Beijing considers Taiwan to be sovereign Chinese territory under its One-China policy. The island, which has been self-governing since 1949, never officially declared its independence from China.

Washington, which formally adheres to the One-China policy, still maintains close relations with Taipei and supplies the island with arms. Both Washington and Beijing have repeatedly accused each other of destabilizing the situation in the Taiwan Strait.

Earlier this week, the Taiwanese authorities claimed that over 70 Chinese military aircraft and reconnaissance drones, as well as several naval vessels, had been spotted near the island. The Chinese military had previously announced “strike drills” in the area.

MNA/PR

News Code 195486

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