Taiwan Government proposed on Thursday extra defence spending of Taiwan Dollar 240 billion, i.e. USD 8.69 billion, over the next 5 years, including new missiles, as it warned of a stringent requirement to upgrade weapons in the face of a "severe threat" from giant neighbour China.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has made modernising the armed forces - well-armed but dwarfed by China's - and increasing defence spending a priority, particularly as Beijing ramps up its military and diplomatic pressure against the island it claims as "sacred" Chinese territory.
The new fund, which comes on top of planned military spending of Taiwan dollar 471.7 billion for 2022, will need to be approved by parliament where Tsai's ruling party has a large majority, meaning its passage should be smooth. "The Chinese Communists have continued to invest heavily in national defence budgets, its military strength has grown rapidly, and it has frequently dispatched aircraft and ships to invade and harass our seas and airspace," Taiwan's Defence Ministry said in a statement after a weekly Cabinet meeting.
Deputy Defence Minister Wang Shin-lung told before media that the new arms would all be made domestically, as Taiwan boosts its own production prowess, though the United States will probably remain an important part and technology provider.