#AceNewsReport – Sept.16: Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has made modernising the armed forces — well-armed but dwarfed by China’s — and increasing defence spending a priority, especially as Beijing ramps up its military and diplomatic pressure against the island it claims as “sacred” Chinese territory.
#AceDailyNews says that Taiwan plans $11 billion boost in defence spending as it warns of ‘severe threat’ from China over them ramping up their defences to protect waht they are saying its their ‘Sacred Island’ and in Chinese territory as they see how China is converting reefs to military facilities by building artificial islands in the South China Sea.
The new money, which comes on top of planned military spending of T$471.7 billion for 2022, will need to be approved by the Parliament, which is likely as Mr Tsai’s ruling party has a large majority.
“The Chinese communists have continued to invest heavily in national defence budgets, its military strength has grown rapidly, and it has frequently dispatched aircraft and ships to invade and harass our seas and airspace,” Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said in a statement after a weekly Cabinet meeting.
“In the face of severe threats from the enemy, the nation’s military is actively engaged in military building and preparation work, and it is urgent to obtain mature and rapid mass-production weapons and equipment in a short period of time.”
Deputy Defence Minister Wang Shin-lung said the new arms would all be made domestically, as Taiwan boosted its own production prowess. However, the United States will probably remain an important parts and technology provider.
Cruise missiles, warships to be purchased
Taiwan has been keen to demonstrate it can defend itself, especially amid questions about whether the United States would come to its aid if China attacked.
“Only if we ensure our security and show determination will the international community think well of us,” Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng said.
“Others will only help us if we help ourselves.”
The weapons Taiwan aims to buy with the money include cruise missiles and warships, the ministry added.
Taiwan has been testing new, long-range missiles off its southern and eastern coasts, and while it has not given details, diplomats and experts have said they are likely to be able to hit targets far into China.
The additional cash will likely be well received in Washington, which has been pushing Taiwan to modernise its military to make it more mobile so it can become a “porcupine”, hard for China to attack.
Taiwan has already put into service a new class of highly agile stealth warships, which Taiwan refers to as “aircraft carrier killers” due to their missile complement, and is developing its own submarines.
The announcement comes as Taiwan is in the middle of its annual Han Kuang military drills.
On Thursday, Taiwan’s army simulated fending off an invasion, firing artillery out to sea from a beach on its southern coast.
A pattern of intrusions
Taiwan has complained for more than a year of repeated missions by China’s air force near the self-ruled island.
Earlier this month, Taiwan scrambled its air force against renewed Chinese military activity, with its defence ministry reporting that 19 aircraft, including nuclear-capable bombers, had flown into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone.
It has often occurred in the south-western part of its air defence zone, near the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.
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