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Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan approves NT$236.95 billion extra defense budget

Four parties voice support for package

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The Legislative Yuan approved an extra budget Tuesday to strengthen Taiwan's maritime and air defenses. 

The Legislative Yuan approved an extra budget Tuesday to strengthen Taiwan's maritime and air defenses.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Legislative Yuan on Tuesday (Jan. 11) completed the third reading of a NT$236.95 billion (US$8.55 billion) extra budget to buy more missiles and ships in an effort to counter China’s military modernization and increasing aggressiveness.

The budget proposal received support from all four party caucuses at the 113-seat Legislative Yuan, CNA reported. Lawmakers said they would closely monitor the spending of the new funds, which should serve to strengthen Taiwan’s maritime and air defenses amid increasingly assertive behavior by Chinese military aircraft and naval vessels.

The approval of the budget shows the international community that Taiwan is serious about defending itself and that the effort enjoys wide-ranging public support, lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said.

The New Power Party (NPP) said it supports the domestic R&D and manufacture of missile systems to provide the Air Force and Navy with the means to control the country’s airspace and surrounding waters.

Members of main opposition party the Kuomintang (KMT) emphasized the need for close supervision of how the special funds would be spent, saying public money should be used wisely to have the most effective impact possible on the country’s defense efforts.

The Ministry of National Defense will have to present a report to the Legislative Yuan each year about the progress made on the procurement plan. The budget included funds for shore-based anti-ship missiles, ground-based air defense systems, drones, surface-to-surface cruise missiles, and weapons systems for the Coast Guard, reports said.