Taiwan will spend more than one-fifth of its defense budget next year on the development of indigenous weapons, in line with the government’s policy of strengthening national security, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.
In the government’s proposals for next year’s national budget, defense spending is to increase by NT$18.3 billion (US$597.5 million) from the previous year to NT$346 billion, which represents 2.16 percent of the nation’s GDP, Tsai said.
Of the total defense budget, NT$73.6 billion, or 21.3 percent, is to be spent on developing indigenous defense systems, an increase of NT$25 billion, as part of the effort to broaden the nation’s warfare capability, she said.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
The proposals also include NT$95.1 billion for military investment, an increase of NT$13.9 billion from the previous year, Tsai said during the unveiling of a plaque at Navy Command Headquarters.
The plaque, which bears the inscription “New Navy Sets Sail,” symbolizes the beginning of a new era for the navy, during which it will use domestically built submarines, Tsai said, referring to the nation’s ongoing construction of defense submarines.
Since the late 1980s, when Taiwan bought two Dutch-built Zwaardvis-class diesel submarines, it has had difficulty procuring others and had been planning to build its own, Tsai said.
However, because of the challenges facing the nation, the idea got stuck until she came to office in 2016.
“Faced with such challenges, we should try to resolve them, instead of recoiling in fear,” she said.
The administration has been integrating resources from industry, academia, government and international partners to push its program forward, she said.
“Step by step, we have been making progress in resolving the bottlenecks in innovation and manufacturing,” Tsai said.
In related developments, a defense official on Sunday said that the construction costs for the first three mass-produced Tuo Jiang-class corvettes would be increased from NT$14.4 billion to NT$16.1 billion.
The navy plans to follow the class’ lead ship, the Tuo Jiang PG-618, with three anti-aircraft Flight I ships and five anti-ship and anti-submarine Flight II ships by 2025, in addition to Flight III ships whose specifications and production schedule are not yet known.
Due to adjustments to the hull design, the ships would have a projected displacement of 700 tonnes compared with the Tuo Jiang’s 567 tonnes.
Navy Command last week appointed the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology to oversee the construction program of the three Flight I ships, which is to be implemented by select contractors, the official said on condition of anonymity.
Flight I Tuo Jiang-class corvette armaments are to consist of Tien Chien II (TC-2) surface-to-air missiles, while the Flight IIs would be a mix of Hsiung Feng II and Hsiung Feng III cruise missiles.
Additionally, the navy has made strides in the indigenous submarine program after the US Department of State in April authorized US firms to export submarine technology to Taiwan, the official said.
The granting of licenses enabled US firms to cut out intermediaries and deal with the Taiwanese government directly, the official said.
The administration has been briefed by six international corporations from the US, the EU, Japan and India in connection with their offers of technical assistance for the submarine program, the official said.
An Indian firm has invited navy officers and CSBC Corp, Taiwan (台灣國際造船) representatives to visit its facilities in-country, the official added.
EFFICIENCY: The rules for Philippine arrivals were revised after 17.6% of arrivals with symptoms tested positive, compared with 0.7% of those with no symptoms Starting today, Chinese spouses who hold a reunion permit can apply to enter Taiwan and travelers without symptoms from the Philippines do not need to be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival, but are to be tested after a 14-day quarantine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that from today, Chinese who are married to a Taiwanese citizen and hold a reunion permit can apply to the National Immigration Agency for entry into Taiwan. Chinese who are married to a foreign national and hold an accompanied reunion permit
CONSOLIDATION? Taiwan Thinktank deputy executive-general Doong Sy-chi said Beijing’s intimidation tactics are further alienating those who identify as Chinese Only 2 percent of respondents to a poll on constitutional amendments and national identity identified as Chinese, while 62.6 percent identified as Taiwanese, the Taiwan Thinktank said yesterday. Legislators have proposed amendments to the Additional Articles of the Constitution (憲法增修條文), which would change the definition of the nation’s territory, remove the Taiwan Provincial Government as an entity, prioritize the use of “Taiwan” for national groups at international events, and remove restrictions on defining the national emblem, national flag and national anthem. The poll showed that 80.5 percent of respondents agreed that the nation should participate as “Taiwan” at events organized by world
MISTAKE: The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is not a UN body, and the government is committed to protecting the nation’s name, Joseph Wu said The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday condemned the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy for listing Taiwanese cities as belonging to China on its Web site, and asked that it correct the error. The organization was inaugurated in Brussels in 2016 as a global coalition of mayors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Six Taiwanese cities at the time joined the coalition as cities in “Taiwan,” the ministry said. However, officials from the Kaohsiung City Government — one of the organization’s members — last week noticed that the city was now listed on the organization’s Web site as a
BALANCED DEVELOPMENT: TSMC chairman Mark Liu said the firm is committed to local investment: a third in the north, a third in the center, a third in the south Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, yesterday said that, based on its strategy of balancing capacity, it plans to make northern Taiwan its manufacturing hub for advanced technologies that go beyond 2 nanometers. “As the company is committed to investing in Taiwan, we try to deploy one-third [of our total production capacity] in the north and have one-third each in the center and south” of the nation, TSMC chairman Mark Liu (劉德音) told reporters on the sidelines of Semicon Taiwan’s Master Forum in Taipei. TSMC last year reached its goal of deploying capacity equally across those parts