The Ministry of National Defense said yesterday that China's accelerating military spending posed a threat to regional peace and tilted the military balance across the Taiwan Strait in favor of China.
China has made public its draft budget bill for this year and it shows a 17.8 percent increase in its military budget.
It was announced on Sunday that the planned budget for the People's Liberation Army (PLA) this year was 351 billion yuan (US$45 billion). That marks an increase of 53 billion yuan on last year, representing the fastest growth in a decade.
"This has become the most powerful policy tool by which China pursues regional power, not only upsetting the military balance across the Taiwan Strait, but also increasing the potential for a disruption to peace and stability in Asia," Rear Admiral Wu Chi-fang (
Taiwan's military budget has been declining in real terms as a proportion of GDP and overall government spending in recent years and by comparison was only US$7.6 billion last year.
Legislative deadlock has prevented the government from securing supplementary funds to buy new, cutting-edge weapons the military wants to counter the threat from China, which has almost 1,000 missiles aimed at Taiwan.
"The increasing budgets over the years is reflected in the fast pace of its military modernization, especially in the upgrading of the combat capabilities of its naval and air forces as well as its Second Artillery Battalion," Wu said.
The Second Artillery Battalion wields China's nuclear missiles.
Taiwan's ground forces, numbering an estimated 130,000, are dwarfed by China's 1.3 million, 400,000 of whom are based in regions adjacent to the nation, according to a Pentagon report.
Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu (
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