Taiwan’s Strategy to Fortify Kinmen and Matsu Islands


In a move signaling heightened military readiness, Taiwan is set to dispatch 700 conscripts to fortify its military garrisons on the remote islands of Kinmen and Matsu. According to National Policy Foundation Deputy Fellow Jie Zhong, the strategy is aimed at alleviating staffing shortages, although concerns regarding conscription management remain.

The Understaffing Crisis: A Temporary Fix

The decision to send conscripts to these remote bases is seen as a pragmatic solution to the understaffing crisis faced by the Taiwanese military. The Ministry of Defense plans to recruit 9,100 conscripts in 2024, some of whom will serve on various remote islands.


The Management Conundrum: Voluntarism Vs. Compulsion

Zhong raises a crucial concern about the potential management problems stemming from sending conscripts involuntarily. She suggests that these issues could be mitigated by reducing the terms of service or providing additional allowances, thereby making these remote postings more attractive.

Policy Recommendations: Striking the Balance

To avoid potential management problems, Zhong recommends several measures:

Long-Term Implications: Beyond 2024

With Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense planning to increase the term of service to one year, future planning must consider not just the immediate needs, but also how to sustain staffing levels and morale over a more extended period.


Taiwan’s strategy to bolster its military presence on Kinmen and Matsu Islands is fraught with logistical and managerial complexities. It requires a nuanced approach that balances the immediate needs for increased staffing with the potential challenges of involuntary conscription. As Taiwan’s geopolitical landscape continues to evolve, the success of these measures will depend on a well-calibrated strategy that takes into account both short-term gains and long-term sustainability.

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