Taiwan proposes 12.9% on-year rise in defense spending for 2023

By Reuters   August 24, 2022 | 07:43 pm PT
Taiwan proposes 12.9% on-year rise in defense spending for 2023
Tanks operate on Bali beach while simulating a preventive measure to counter invasion as part of Taiwan's main annual "Han Kuang" exercise in New Taipei City, Taiwan, July 27, 2022. Photo by Reuters/Ann Wang
Taiwan unveiled a proposed 12.9% year-on-year increase in its defense budget for 2023 to T$415.1 billion ($13.72 billion) on Thursday amid tensions with China, which has sharply increased military activities near the democratically governed island.

China, which claims Taiwan as its territory despite the strong objections of the government in Taipei, carried out its largest-ever military exercises around the island after a visit this month by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

On top of the proposed budget, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen's Cabinet is proposing an additional T$108.3 billion in spending for fighter jets and other equipment.

The proposal, which is a record high and must be approved by parliament, marks the island's sixth consecutive year of growth in defense spending since 2017.

The island last year announced an extra defense budget of $8.69 billion by 2026, which came on top of its yearly military spending, mostly on naval weapons, including missiles and warships.

Tsai has made modernizing the armed forces - well-armed but dwarfed by China's - a priority.

China has not ruled out using force to bring the island under its control. Taiwan rejects Beijing's sovereignty claims, saying that the People's Republic of China has never ruled the island and that only Taiwan's people can decide their future.

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