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September 26, 2017

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Military relaxes some service restrictions

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday announced it would further relax the physical restrictions and age limit currently imposed on those who apply to serve in the military in the hopes of boosting sluggish voluntary military recruitment.

Major General Bai Chieh-lung (白捷隆), an MND human resources official, told a press briefing yesterday that the military recently approved the further relaxation of height restrictions on military personnel.

Following the change, the minimum height requirement for male applicants will be lowered to 152 centimeters from the original 158 centimeters, while the maximum height limit will be raised to 200 centimeters from the previous 196 centimeters.

The military will also relax appearance standards so that people who have tattoos are able to apply to serve in several military units, including military police units, in the future.

Bai also announced that the maximum age limit for those who apply to join the military as voluntary soldiers will be raised to 32 years old from the existing 28.

"These moves are all done in the hope of expanding the scope of recruitment so that more young men and women will be given the opportunity to join the armed forces," Bai noted.

According to Bai, the MND has set the goal of recruiting a total of 10,557 voluntary soldiers this year. It previously managed to attract 9,264 volunteers to sign up and serve in the military in 2013.

MND statistics show that the acceptance rate for male applicants was around 50 percent, while the number for female applicants stood at around 20 percent in 2013.

The military is hoping to raise the percentage of women serving in the R.O.C. armed forces to 12 percent by the year 2018. Currently, women comprise around 8 percent of total military personnel in Taiwan. The military previously imposed an 8-percent threshold for women serving in the military.

But the MND announced last year it would cancel the quota limit for women as part of efforts to recruit more female soldiers.

Military to Beef Up Presidential Office Defense

Meanwhile, Chou Kuang-chi (周廣齊), commander of the 202nd Military Police Command, which is responsible for security at the Presidential Office, said yesterday that the unit will intensify its regular trainings to beef up its defense capability.

The announcement was made in the wake an incident last Saturday when a gravel truck smashed into the Presidential Office in downtown Taipei.

"We will conduct regular drills on a weekly and monthly basis to test these guards' emergency response capabilities to prevent similar cases from happening again," Chou said.

A senior military official, who prefers to remain anonymous, told local media yesterday that the military will launch new defensive measures at the Presidential Office Building, including installing new bullet-proof sheet metal at the front gate of the building for security reasons.

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