Taiwan defense spending to rise by 20 percent by 2025

Tsai Administration emphasizes domestic arms production

President Tsai Ing-wen during a recent visit to a defense institution. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Annual defense spending should rise by 20 percent to reach NT$381.7 billion (US$12.8 billion) by 2025, according to the Central News Agency.

The government plan was a response to the rising military threat from China and to requests from the United States to crank up the defense budget, reports said.

On condition the Legislative Yuan approves, military spending should rise by NT$62.4 billion (US$2.1 billion) in the period leading up to 2025. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was in continuous contact with senior military officers and with her Democratic Progressive Party to pave the way for the budget, while she also emphasized new investments in training and equipment.

The Ministry of National Defense saw the acquisition of missiles, unmanned aircraft, fighter jets and electronic warfare as its priority, CNA reported. While some could undoubtedly be manufactured in Taiwan, others might need approaching the United States for more weapons sales, reports said.

The Tsai Administration was looking for submarines, fighter jets and anti-missile systems, the three types of weapon systems China absolutely did not want the island to have, according to Ian Easton of the Project 2019 Institute, a think tank in the United States.

Experts said that even though it might be impossible for Taiwan to redress the balance of power in its favor, it could strengthen its military to the extent that China would find an attack extremely costly to itself.