Houston Community News >> Taiwan To Boost Military Spending

8/22/2007 TAIPEI, Taiwan (UPI) -- In an effort to boost defenses, Taiwan's Cabinet has announced an increase to its military spending.

The Cabinet agreed Wednesday to grow military spending by nearly 15 percent in next year’s budget. The move is seen as a reaction against the Chinese government's announcement in May that it plans a military budget increase of 17.8 percent. Officials say it is the biggest increase in recent Chinese history, Agence France-Presse reported.

Although still requiring confirmation by Parliament, under a Taiwanese draft budget, the Defense Ministry is setting aside $10.5 billion for military spending. The move is an increase of about $1.35 billion.

Officials say Taiwan is looking to purchase U.S.-made P-3C submarine-hunting aircrafts and other military equipment with the change in financing.

Despite not having formal diplomatic ties, the United States has long been the island’s leading arms supplier. Washington has repeatedly asked Taipei to boosting military spending as a display of its determination to defend itself.

China and Taiwan have been separated since the end of a civil war in 1949. Reunification is one of China’s long-term strategic objectives despite Beijing's contention that the island is part of its territory. Many analysts have said Beijing is beefing up its military partly to enable it to take the island back by force if necessary.  

Contributed by UPI.