Taiwan approves US$11.4 billion for 2020 defense budget

2020 budget represents increase of US$558 million over 2019 budget

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NCSIST Jian Xiang drone and launch platform at Taipei Aerospace and Defense Exhibition, Aug. 15

NCSIST Jian Xiang drone and launch platform at Taipei Aerospace and Defense Exhibition, Aug. 15 (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – On Thursday (Aug. 15) the Executive Yuan announced that Taiwan’s defense budget for 2020 has been increased to NT$358 billion (US$11.4 billion), representing an increase of NT$17.5 billion (US$558 million) over the 2019 budget.

Taiwan’s Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced on Thursday that in response to Taiwan’s growing defensive needs, the government has successfully approved the new budget. Next year’s defense budget will be 5.2 percent larger than last year’s budget of NT$346 billion (US$11 billion).

The Liberty Times reports that the budget has been divided into three major portions, with the largest being NT$166 billion (US$5.2 billion) allocated to personnel maintenance costs. An additional NT$96 billion (US$3 billion) will be used for maintaining equipment and facility operations.

The third portion of NT$96 billion will go towards investment in defense technology and training programs. This represents an increase of NT$6 billion (US$191 million) over funds allocated to investment in 2019.

In July, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) had originally proposed a budget of NT$360 billion (US$11.6 billion) to meet its needs in 2020. Although just barely missing the earlier target, President Tsai Ing-wen met with MND officials on Aug. 5 and expressed agreement that Taiwan will need to continuously strengthen defense spending moving forward, reports the Liberty Times.