Taiwan proposes $2b for new fighters amid modest hike in 2022 defence spending

TAIPEI (REUTERS) – Taiwan announced a more modest pace in defence spending for next year on Thursday (Aug 26), but will spend US$1.44 billion (S$1.95 billion) on new fighter jets, as the island bolsters its forces in the face of increased pressure from Beijing.

China has stepped up its military activity near Taiwan, which it regards as Chinese territory to be brought under Beijing’s control, by force if necessary.

President Tsai Ing-wen’s cabinet is proposing military spending of T$471.7 billion (S$22.9 billion) for the year starting in January, up from this year’s budget of T$453.4 billion, the government said in a statement.

That number includes T$40.1 billion for new fighter jets, though the government did not give details.

The rate of increase would be smaller than the 10 per cent rise budgeted for this year, according to Reuters calculations based on government data.

The proposed defence budget is the third-largest government expenditure for next year, after social welfare and combined spending on education, science and culture.

The budget must be approved by parliament, where Ms Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party has a large majority, making its approval easier.

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