Taiwan to Boost Arms Spending by $8.7 Billion, Warns ‘Severe Threat’ From China

The Taiwanese government announced on Thursday it proposed to bolster its defense spendings by $8.69 billion ($240 billion Taiwan dollars) over the next five years, citing an urgent need to improve military equipment in the face of “severe threats” coming from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, reelected by a landslide last year on a pledge to stand up to the CCP, has made modernizing Taiwan’s mainly U.S.-equipped military a priority, turning it into a “porcupine,” both highly mobile and hard to attack.

Deputy Defence Minister Wang Shin-lung told reporters the new arms would all be made domestically and will include cruise missiles and warships.

“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,” Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said in a statement on Thursday after a weekly Cabinet meeting.

“The Chinese Communists have continued to invest heavily in national defense budgets, its military strength has grown rapidly, and it has frequently dispatched aircraft and ships to invade and harass our seas and airspace,” it added.

The new money, which comes on top of planned military spending of $17 billion for 2022, will need to be approved by parliament where Tsai’s ruling party has a large majority, meaning its passage should be smooth.

China claims that Taiwan is its territory, in spite of the fact that Taiwan has been self-governing since 1949, and that it has never governed Taiwan. The communist regime has frequently sent planes and ships to attack and harass Taiwanese waters and airspace.

China navy military
Chinese J-15 fighter jets being launched from the deck of the Liaoning aircraft carrier during military drills in the Yellow Sea, off China’s east coast on Dec. 23, 2016. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

On Sept. 5, the CCP deployed 19 military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), as it continues its aggressive posturing toward the self-governing island, which scrambled jets in response.

Another large-scale incursion happened in June when Beijing flew 28 military aircraft into the island’s ADIZ.

This summer, the regime went so far as to issue an edict requiring foreign warships to register their intent in order to enter the South China Sea. The CCP claims sovereignty over the entire Sea, in spite of legitimate claims by Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the Philippines.

Taiwan has been keen to demonstrate that it can defend itself, especially amid questions about whether the United States would come to its aid if China attacked.

Under the Trump administration, and continuing under President Joe Biden, the United States has increased its diplomatic engagement with Taiwan, increasing its arms sales and military maneuvers, as well as its joint statements along with Japan, South Korea, and the G7.

Antonio Graceffo and Reuters contributed to this report.