The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday made public its blue paper on national defense, vowing to push for domestically made submarines as well as next-generation warplanes if it returns to power in the 2016 presidential election.
“The DPP is determined to revive national defense,” DPP Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) told a news conference at the party’s headquarters yesterday morning. “Our first determination is to promote Taiwanese-built submarines and the self-production of warplanes, and our second determination is that the DPP create an open and competitive environment to promote upgrading the national defense industry.”
He said that if the DPP returns to power in 2016, it would make sure that national defense budgets would be at least 3 percent of GDP, which would be an increase of approximately NT$110 billion (US$3.61 billion) over the current average national defense budget of NT$319 billion.
“We would make sure that our armed forces would have the best equipment with a sufficient budget,” Wu said. “It would also help to boost the economy and create more employment opportunities.”
Chen Wen-cheng (陳文政), an assistant professor at Tamkang University’s Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies who also attended the press conference, supported the DPP proposal.
“Although arms purchases are often seen by top officials in the national security system as important in Taiwan’s collaboration with foreign allies, arms deals could also often become deadlocked due to political issues,” Chen said, adding that it is therefore important for the nation to have the capacity to produce its own military equipment.
Wu said that he would take the blue paper to the US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference set to begin tomorrow in Williamsburg, Virginia, to discuss the party’s national defense policies with US officials, think tank members and Taiwanese defense officials.
“There will be no partisan division, though partisan division is normal in a democracy like Taiwan. When we are abroad, we all represent Taiwan — regardless of party affiliations,” Wu said.
The paper was the seventh of 12 blue papers the DPP plans to publish before May next year to present a full picture of the party’s national defense policy.
A source within the party said that the previous papers have been well-received among the national defense circle in the US.