Amid escalating tensions with China, Taiwan proposes double-digit increase defence budget

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After China staged large-scale war games around the island it views as its sovereign territory, Taiwan proposed $19 billion in defence spending for next year on Thursday.

The double-digit increase in Taiwan’s budget comes after heightened Chinese aggression due to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei.

Marking the island’s sixth consecutive year of growth in defence spending since 2017, the budget includes an additional T$108.3 billion in spending for fighter jets and other equipment.

In comparison with the island’s defence spending growth in recent years, the double-digit rise on 2022 marks a sharp increase as the 13.9 per cent year-on-year increase will make it a record T$586.3 billion ($19.41 billion).

elevatedlighting that defence spending will mainly go to operational costs, statistics department minister Chu Tzer-ming said “We always give safety and national security the top priority… that’s why (the budget for) operational costs rise greatly.”

After social welfare and combined spending on education, the proposed budget accounts for 14.6 per cent of the government’s total spending for next year and is the fourth-largest spending segment.

Setting the spending figure at 1.45 trillion yuan ($211.62 billion), China said it would spend 7.1 per cent more on defence this year.

By putting more effort into weapons such as missiles that can strike fear into its giant neighbour’s territory, Taiwan is trying to counter China’s advanced equipment.

Saying that the People’s Republic of China has never ruled the island, Taiwan rejects Beijing’s sovereignty claims.

Reiterating the determination to protect their sovereignty, President Tsai ing-Wen is focusing on modernising the armed forces.

(With inputs from agencies)

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