The Legislative Yuan yesterday passed a NT$236.96 billion (US$8.56 billion) special budget to procure weaponry over the next five years, with the aim of enhancing the nation’s defenses against rising Chinese aggression.
The majority, to be distributed over five years and fully financed through borrowing, would go toward weapons procurements, while NT$89.69 million is to be set aside for logistics and oversight.
The final amount was on Monday adjusted down by NT$310 million during cross-party negotiations, cutting NT$300 million from the weapons allocation and NT$10 million from the logistics allocation.
Funding is to mainly go toward domestically produced armaments, especially precision missiles, high-performance warships and weapons systems for coast guard vessels.
Eight types of weapon systems are permitted: shore-based anti-ship missiles, field and ground-based air defense systems, uncrewed aerial vehicles, air-to-ground and surface-to-surface cruise missile systems, high-performance submarines and coast guard weapon systems.
The production of the Taiwan-made Tien Kung (Sky Bow), Tien Chien (Sky Sword) and Hsiung Feng (Brave Wind) series of missiles is also supported.
Under the budget authorization bill, the Ministry of National Defense is required to submit a progress report to the legislature every May that includes spending plans for the coming year.
Prioritizing locally made equipment creates a “win-win situation” for national security and the economy, the Executive Yuan said.
It is the fourth special budget passed under President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). A special budget is not constrained by spending restrictions placed on the regular budget.
It also comes on top of a record annual defense budget of NT$471.7 billion for this fiscal year.
The Cabinet in September last year proposed an authorization bill for the special budget with the goal of safeguarding national sovereignty against “severe threats” posed by China.
The legislature passed the bill on Nov. 23 last year, authorizing the Cabinet to draw up a special budget of up to NT$240 billion for weapons purchases until 2026.
The Cabinet then drafted a special budget and sent it to the legislature for approval, but it stagnated in cross-party negotiations due to an opposition boycott over alleged government partiality in campaigning against the referendums held on Dec. 18.
To pass important bills left after the regular session ended on Dec. 31, the Democratic Progressive Party caucus called an extraordinary session that started on Wednesday last week and is to continue until Jan. 28.
During cross-party negotiations on Monday, a consensus was reportedly reached on most items and legislators across party lines expressed support for enhancing national defense capabilities.
Several resolutions were also passed affirming the importance of researching, developing and procuring arms to keep the nation secure; calling on contractors and manufacturers to protect defense secrets; and suggesting that the ministry conduct security assessments of related personnel and manufacturers.
A group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators also passed a resolution advising more judicious use of special budgets.
SOLIDARITY: A group of European lawmakers condemned China’s aggressive moves, while the foreign minister of Lithuania said Taiwan ‘cannot become a second Ukraine’ A German parliamentary delegation would visit Taiwan in the first week of October, German lawmaker Holger Becker on Monday told visiting Democratic Progressive Party legislators Fan Yun (范雲) and Lin I-chin (林宜瑾) at the Bundestag in Berlin. Asked by Fan whether he is worried about possible reprisals from Beijing, such as banning him and his family from entering China, Becker said he is more interested in visiting Taiwan, as “now is the time for democracies to stand together.” Fan and Lin also met with German officials to exchange views on digital education and governance. Investing in digital infrastructure and protecting equal rights to
As China waged extensive military exercises off Taiwan, a group of US defense experts in Washington was focused on their own simulation of an eventual — but for now entirely hypothetical — US-China war over the nation. The unofficial what-if game is being conducted on the fifth floor of an office building not far from the White House, and it posits a US military response to a Chinese invasion in 2026. Even though the participants bring a US perspective, they are finding that a US-Taiwan victory, if there is one, could come at a huge cost. “The results are showing that under
WRONG TIMING: The delegation’s trip has not only disappointed Taiwanese, but could send a wrong message to the global community, Tsai Ing-wen said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Vice Chairman Andrew Hsia (夏立言) yesterday left with a delegation for a trip to China, drawing fire for visiting at a time when Beijing has been conducting intensive military drills to pressure Taiwan. Before boarding, he told reporters that the delegation would be visiting Taiwanese communities and students in China, and possibly meet with Chinese officials. The Mainland Affairs Council on Tuesday night said that it was not the right time for political party members to visit China, as Beijing has been conducting military exercises since Thursday last week. President Tsai Ing- wen (蔡英文), chairperson of the Democratic
‘MILITARY PLAYBOOK’: It would have taken far longer for the PLA to put together the drills had they actually been in response to Nancy Pelosi’s visit, Joseph Wu said China is using military drills to prepare for an invasion of Taiwan, and its anger over US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit is just an excuse, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said yesterday. Speaking in English at a news conference in Taipei, Wu accused China of “gross violations of international law.” “China has used the drills in its military playbook to prepare for the invasion of Taiwan,” he said. “It is conducting large-scale military exercises and missile launches, as well as cyberattacks, disinformation and economic coercion, in an attempt to weaken public morale in Taiwan.” He said the Chinese