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Taiwan seeks USD 11 bn defence budget as China threat grows

AFP  |  Taipei 

Taiwan's today said she is seeking to ramp up spending on the armed forced, as relations with deteriorate.

Her proposal to increase the 2019 defence budget by 5.6 per cent to 346 billion Tw dollars (USD 11.3 billion) will go before parliament following the summer recess.

sees democratic self-ruling as part of its territory to be brought back into its fold, by force if necessary.

has stepped up pressure on since Tsai came to power two years ago, as her government refuses to acknowledge the island is part of "one China".

It has staged a string of air and naval exercises, including a live-fire drill in the Strait in April, which Chinese officials said were aimed at Taiwan's "independence forces".

"There have been many changes in international and regional situations and our national security is faced with more obvious and complicated threats," Tsai said today as she attended a naval ceremony and announced the defence spending plan.

Up 18.3 billion Tw dollars from the previous year, it would account for 2.16 per cent of the GDP.

The 2018 defence budget was only up 1.9 per cent on the year before, at 327.7 billion Tw dollars.

Around a fifth of the 2019 budget would be spent on "defence self-sufficiency" projects, Tsai said.

Taiwan wants to beef up its homegrown defence systems, particularly its submarines.

The government this year approved a licence required to sell to Taiwan, part of warming relations between the two sides.

Although the US does not have official diplomatic relations with after switching recognition to in 1979, it remains Taiwan's most powerful ally and arms supplier.

A long-stalled offer approved by then US in 2001 to supply eight conventional submarines has never come to fruition.

Last year, Taiwan also announced its bid to create a new generation of locally built jet trainers by 2026.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, August 06 2018. 17:55 IST