Lawmaker: Taiwan Defense Budget depends on US Arms Sales

Continuous double-digit growth in China’s military budget was mainly in line with its rapid economic growth, but it did cause strong concern among other countries, Taiwan’s defense ministry said today. The ministry told the BBC‘s mandarin website that Taiwan’s current policy was to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait region, and that Taiwan would not enter into an arms race with China (不会与中共进行军备竞赛). While China’s defense budget was increasing year after year, Taiwan’s defense spending was decreasing year by year, with a 297.2 billion New Taiwan Dollars budget for 2011.

With China’s military spending about ten times as high as Taiwan’s, Taiwan would protect its security with a flexible approach, said the ministry.

KMT legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁芳) suggested that Taiwan was only one of China’s targets, and China was mainly competing with America. However, being in the frontline, Taiwan was indeed under severe pressure (但台湾在第一线承受了巨大的压力). Lin called on Washington to sincerely (真心) consider president Ma Ying-jeou‘s repeated requests to sell submarines and F-16 C/D fighting jets to Taiwan. These would pose no threat to China.

Lin said that Taiwan’s rather low budget reflected the uncertainty of US arms sales to Taiwan and said that the budget would provide for arms purchases from the US as soon as Washington cleared the requested arms sales.

DPP legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) suggested China’s growing threat towards Taiwan showed that Beijing wasn’t satisfied with Ma Ying-jeou’s approach to Taiwan-Chinese relations. There was reason to worry about how Taiwan should maintain the status quo in its relations with China. The Chinese increases in military spending, without resolving disparities between rich and poor people at home, didn’t only constitute a threat to Taiwan, but pressure on other neighboring countries, too. This wasn’t helpful for world peace.

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Related
“Realism, not Inhumanity”, Taipei Times, March 4, 2011
NPC Press Conference: No Shadow Military Budget, March 4, 2011
Taipei: Say it through Opinion Polls, December 27, 2010
Taiwan Military: Placing their Orders, July 19, 2010
ECFA: China’s Primacy of Politics, July 3, 2010

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