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Taiwan set to increase defense spending as Chinese threat grows

The president is seeking NT$360 billion for next year’s defense budget and annual growth of 2 percent

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Taiwan Air Force fighter aircraft, left, flies near a Chinese PLA Air Force H6-K bomber. (AP photo)

Taiwan Air Force fighter aircraft, left, flies near a Chinese PLA Air Force H6-K bomber. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan is expected to increase next year’s defense budget in response to the growing military expansion of China, which reiterated on Wednesday (July 24) that it could use force to take the island.

Taiwan’s military is proposing a NT$360 billion budget (US$11.6 billion) for procurement of arms and related defense needs, reported Liberty Times. This would represent an increase of more than NT$10 billion on the budget set aside for 2019, which was NT$346 billion.

A review of the overall central government budget, presided over by Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), is set to take place on Friday (July 25).

According to government officials, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has set a defense budget annual growth target of 2 percent. Expenditures will cover the cost of new weapons systems and production of Taiwan’s indigenous submarines, said the report.

In May, China set its 2019 defense spending at 1.19 trillion yuan, 7.5 percent higher than a year ago. Despite this being less than the 8.1 percent growth in 2018, analysts suspect the figures may not reflect actual spending, wrote CNBC.