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Son of deputy defense chief begins service

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The son of Taiwan's deputy defense minister Andrew Hsia (夏立言) began his compulsory military service yesterday, in a move to refute media speculation that claimed he had deliberately dodged service for years.

Hsia Chi-hsuan (夏之璿), 32, reported to the Cheng Gong Ling (成功嶺) training center in Taichung City yesterday as a substitute service conscript to officially begin his one-year-service, a obligation for all eligible R.O.C. men when they reach 19.

He will undergo three weeks of basic training at the center before joining a lottery draw to decide where he will be serving for the following year.

Speaking to media before he reported to the center, the younger Hsia, with the required shaved head, said he never tried to dodge military service, as reported by some media outlets.

He said he always planned to come back to Taiwan to serve the compulsory term after he finished his education in the United States.

The 63-year-old Andrew Hsia (夏立言) was a career diplomat and Taiwan's former top envoy to Indonesia. He was tapped to take over the post at the defense ministry in late October and officially assumed his post in November.

Local media later discovered that Hsia's son stayed overseas and had not yet returned to Taiwan to serve in the military.

Hsia explained that as a career diplomat he has taken overseas assignments for decades and his son has been living and studying overseas together with him and had therefore been unable to perform the required duty.

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