Taiwan will spend an additional T$94.3 billion ($2.97 billion) on weaponry next year, including fighter jets, to enhance its defenses against China, according to the government, and will benefit from new F-16 fighter jet monitoring systems.
China, which considers democratically controlled Taiwan to be its own territory, has increased military and political pressure in the last three years to push those claims, which Taipei categorically denies.
Meanwhile, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen stated that total proposed defense budget for 2024 would be T$606.8 billion, a 3.5% increase over the previous year.
The government’s statistics department stated following a cabinet meeting to debate the budget that almost half of the additional T$94.3 billion will be spent to purchase fighter jets, with the remaining going toward reinforcing marine defenses.
The US approved a probable $500 million sale to Taiwan of infrared search and track systems for F-16 fighter jets, as well as other equipment, on Wednesday.
China, which routinely denounces any foreign arms sales to Taiwan, urged the United States to immediately cancel the planned sale, its foreign ministry said.
Taiwan’s defense budget must be authorized by parliament, which Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party controls. The island’s defense spending for the coming year will amount to 2.5% of its GDP.
Tsai has oversaw a military modernization program to better equip the armed forces to challenge China, including the upgrade of a fleet of F-16 fighter jets and the development of submarines.
Tsai stated on Monday that the first indigenous prototype submarine would be displayed next month, as planned.