Wed, Aug 31, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Lee Jye defends MND's concessions on special budget

BY RICH CHANG  /  STAFF REPORTER

Minister of National Defense Lee Jye yesterday gestures when speaking at a press conference.

PHOTO: CHEN CHIEH-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Minister of National Defense Lee Jye (李傑) yesterday said that if Taiwan was not determined to enhance its defensive capabilities, the country would face destruction in the future.

"The most serious Chinese military threat toward Taiwan is a large-scale missile attack and a submarine blockade. This is considered to be the cheapest and most effective way to take over Taiwan," Lee said yesterday when he met with reporters.

"In order to survive a large-scale missile attack and a submarine blockade, Taiwan should swiftly approve the special arms budget," Lee added.

The original NT$480 billion (US$15 billion) special arms procurement bill was designed to purchase three major weapons systems from the US -- eight diesel-electric submarines, 12 P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and three PAC-3 Patriot anti-missile batteries.

The ministry has proposed transfering NT$133 billion for three batteries of PAC-3 missiles to regular defense budget, and the special arms bill would be reduced to NT$340 billion.

"It was a painful decision to remove the PAC-3 missiles and add them to the regular defense budget, and the move would affect the ministry's other programs," said Lee.

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