Taiwan’s defense ministry has announced that it will spend most of its $240 billion New Taiwan dollar ($8.6 billion) special defense budget on acquiring anti-ship weapon systems.
Around 64 percent of the country’s extra military spending will be allotted for land-based missile systems, while 29 billion New Taiwan dollars ($1.03 billion) will be used to acquire Wan Chien air-to-ground missiles and the upgraded version of Hsiung Feng IIE missile.
The ministry also revealed that the southeast Asian nation will use $148 billion New Taiwan dollar ($5.2 billion) of the special budget for mass production of indigenous missiles and “high-performance” ships.
The additional military spending is part of the government’s continuing efforts to modernize its military. Although the budget is still a proposal, it is expected to be approved by the parliament, which President Tsai Ing-wen’s ruling party rules with a large majority.
China Threat ‘Worse Than Ever’
The proposal highlighted China’s increased military spending, particularly on advanced fighters and amphibious warfare vehicles, which could be used to engage in a military confrontation with Taiwan.
The ministry has stated that recent threats and provocation by Chinese armed forces have been “worse than ever.” Earlier this month, 56 Chinese warplanes flew into the island’s exclusive air defense identification zone without permission.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has already said that his country will not promise to renounce the use of force, reserving a military option to take back Taiwan, which it claims is a breakaway province.
The defense ministry says building “asymmetrical” military capabilities is a crucial way to effectively prevent a war. It cited the army’s move to mount some of its missiles on trucks instead of putting them on fixed bases to make them harder to locate and destroy.