• Reuters

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Taiwan Air Force Staff Sgt. Jiang Pin-shiuan’s pitch to freshmen at Taipei’s Tamkang University seemed compelling: join the island’s armed forces and get a state-sponsored degree, 110 days of leave each year and annual savings of 312,500 New Taiwan dollars ($10,200).

But many students who were listening showed little interest, arguing national service was a “waste of time” and prospects of the self-ruled island standing up economically or militarily to an increasingly aggressive China were slim.

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