China yesterday projected defense spending growth of 6.8 percent this year, while saying that it would deter any “separatist activity” from Taiwan, but remain committed to promoting cross-strait relations.
Beijing has increased its military activity near Taiwan in the past few months, responding to what it calls “collusion” between Taipei and Washington, the nation’s main international backer and arms supplier.
At the opening of the annual Chinese National People’s Congress, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) said that Beijing stands by its “one China” principle, which states that Taiwan is part of China.
China remains committed “to promoting the peaceful growth of relations across the Taiwan Strait and China’s reunification,” he told about 3,000 delegates at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
“We will remain highly vigilant against and resolutely deter any separatist activity seeking Taiwan independence,” Li said.
“We will promote exchanges, cooperation and integrated development across the Taiwan Strait. Together we can shape a bright future of rejuvenation for our great nation,” he added.
The Mainland Affairs Council in Taipei responded by urging China to begin “benign” interactions with it to gradually resolve disagreements through communications.
The council said the government would continue to resolutely defend its sovereignty and Taiwan’s democracy and freedom, and that healthy and orderly exchanges were better than “enforced” pressure.
Also at the conference, the Chinese Ministry of Finance said it would bolster the country’s defense spending 6.8 percent this year, the largest gain since 2019, amid tensions with the US and key neighbors.
Military expenditure is expected to climb to 1.35 trillion yuan (US$208.03 billion) in the coming year, the ministry said.
The figure compares with a projected rise of 1.8 percent in budgeted fiscal spending.
A Bloomberg calculation of the latest defense budget number shows spending for this year would actually rise 6.9 percent.
“We will provide stronger financial guarantees to vigorously support the modernization of national defense and the armed forces, and help China’s defense capabilities rise in step with its economic strength,” the ministry said in a report.
The spending boost comes after China sparred with India on its border and as the nation seeks to modernize its military to make it more competitive with the US.
“We will boost military training and preparedness across the board, make overall plans for responding to security risks in all areas and for all situations, and enhance the military’s strategic capacity to protect the sovereignty, security and development interests of our country,” Li said.
“Considering Beijing’s threat perceptions and goal of achieving military modernization by 2035, I’d expect defense spending to continue to be a priority,” said Meia Nouwens, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
BLUE WAVE: The KMT’s Chiang Wan-an defeated the DPP’s Chen Shih-chung and is to become Taipei mayor, while President Tsai Ing-wen stepped down as DPP chairperson after many of the party’s candidates, handpicked by the leadership, performed poorly The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday flipped key mayoral seats in Taipei, Taoyuan and Keelung, and won control of 13 out of 22 cities and counties in the nine-in-one local elections. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) last night resigned as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson over a poor showing by the party’s candidates, who were handpicked by the DPP leadership rather than chosen through primaries. The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) won its first high-profile race with Hsinchu mayoral candidate Ann Kao (高虹安) defeating Shen Hui-hung (沈慧虹) of the DPP with 45.02 percent of the vote to Shen’s 35.68 percent. Voters were choosing more than
UNDETERRED: The US chip designer’s plan showed that Taiwan remains attractive for investment by global companies despite cross-strait tensions, Wang Mei-hua said US graphics chip designer Nvidia Corp is planning to relocate its Hong Kong-based logistics center to Taiwan, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said on Wednesday. The government had been in discussions with Nvidia regarding tax incentives to facilitate the move since last year, Wang said in an interview with the Central News Agency, adding that the two sides had reached a consensus. Wang did not provide details about the timetable for the move or the planned tax arrangements for Nvidia. The relocation would boost the local economy, as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is a major supplier of graphics processing
Kaohsiung police last week busted a money laundering operation suspected of seeking to interfere in tomorrow’s local elections. The operation was allegedly headed by a man surnamed Lee (李), who had received NT$9.5 billion (US$306.18 million) from China over the past six months, Kaohsiung police said yesterday, adding that Lee’s ring is suspected to be part of a larger Chinese effort to interfere in the elections and support pro-China candidates. Officers arrested Lee, 35, and his girlfriend, searched his mansion, and seized the money he had allegedly received from China and three luxury vehicles, police said. The operation was disguised as an online
‘NEWEST’: The company’s Arizona plant is to produce 5-nanometer chips in the initial stage and would later manufacture 3-nanometer chips, Morris Chang said Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) founder Morris Chang (張忠謀) yesterday confirmed that the company plans to produce its most advanced 3-nanometer chips in the US as part of the company’s phase 2 plan at its plant in Phoenix, Arizona. The 91-year-old entrepreneur, who has been appointed as Taiwan’s envoy to APEC six times, yesterday morning held a news conference at the Presidential Office Building to discuss his delegation’s accomplishments at this year’s APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in Bangkok, which ended on Saturday. He was asked whether TSMC has plans to build advanced chips in the US. “TSMC’s plant in Arizona is