Taiwanese eye jet fighter purchases in 2022 with gradual rise in defense costs


Taipei — Taiwan announced a more modest pace of defense spending next year on August 26, but budgets for new fighters 14 as the island strengthens its troops in the face of rising pressure from Beijing. Includes $ 140 million.

Last week, China stepped up its military operations near Taiwan, including conducting assault training near an island that it considers to be China’s territory, forcibly placed under Beijing’s control, if necessary.

President Tsai Ing-wen’s cabinet is proposing $ 16.89 billion in military spending for the year starting in January, starting with this year’s budget of $ 16.27 billion, the government said in a statement.

That number includes $ 1.44 billion of new fighters, not designated by the government, but probably referring to the F-16.

In 2019, the United States approved the sale of $ 8 billion of F-16 fighters to Taiwan. This brings the total number of islands to more than 200, the largest F-16 fleet in Asia.

According to Reuters calculations based on government data, the rate of increase will be less than this year’s budget of 10 percent.

In March, China announced that defense spending in 2021 would increase by 6.8% from 2020 as the world’s second-largest economy emerged from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Taiwan’s proposed defense budget is the third largest government spending next year, after total spending on social welfare and education, science and culture.

The budget must be approved by Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party-dominated parliament, which facilitates approval.

Tsai has made it possible to modernize Taiwan’s army — well armed but dwarfed by the Chinese army — and prioritized increased defense costs.

As part of this, we have made Taiwan a “porcupine” equipped with advanced and highly mobile weapons, making China’s invasion as difficult as possible.

Ben Blanchard and Imou Lee