Taiwan’s Patriot missiles are getting a maintenance package of NT$2.52 billion (US$84.1 million) over four-and-a-half years from the US, a notification about the deal issued by the Ministry of National Defense showed on Thursday.
The US Department of State in February approved the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s request to offer a maintenance package for Taiwanese Patriot PAC-2/GEM and Patriot PAC-3 missile defense systems, said a defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
US-made Patriot missile defense systems are designed to shoot down hostile aircraft and ballistic missiles, capabilities that experts said Taiwan urgently needs amid China’s frequent incursions into its air defense identification zone and live-fire missile tests last week.
Photo courtesy of the Military News Agency
The package includes support through the US Army International Engineering Services Program and the Field Surveillance Program, the official told the Liberty Times (sister paper of the Taipei Times).
The programs would ensure that the missiles systems are reliable, adequately supplied with parts and upgraded, they said.
These services were originally listed at US$100 million, with a program duration of five years, but the price was reduced following negotiations between Taipei and Washington, they said.
The contract was signed by a ministry-led delegation of military officers and American Institute in Taiwan officials, and took effect on July 20, they said.
Taiwan operates PAC-3s and PAC-2/GEMs — which are PAC-2s upgraded to PAC-3 performance standards. Improved PAC-3/MSEs are expected to be delivered in 2025 and 2026.
Separately, the nation’s defense budget is slated to grow 4.2 percent next year, more than the 4.09 percent the Cabinet previously said it was considering, an official familiar with the matter said.
Next year’s defense budget would be NT$15.4 billion higher than this year’s budget of NT$367.6 billion, they said, adding that the largest budget items would be personnel costs, operational costs and arms procurement.
The salaries and benefits of military service members are important issues to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), which is reflected in the budget plan prepared under the supervision of Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), they said.
Asked what weapons Taiwan is planning to obtain next year, the official declined to comment, citing national security implications.
Social welfare programs would remain the largest item in the government’s overall budget next year, at nearly one-quarter of the NT$2.7 trillion plan, they said.
One of the most significant changes in social welfare spending is a child-rearing subsidy increase to NT$5,000 per month, from NT$3,500 per month this year, and higher subsidies for fertility treatments, they said.
Additional reporting by Chen Yu-fu
EMBRACE CHANGE: Jensen Huang told NTU graduates that instead of worrying about AI itself, they should worry that people with expertise in AI would be taking their jobs Artificial intelligence (AI) is redefining the computer industry, and Taiwanese companies could play a major role in replacing the world’s traditional computers as they are the foundation of the industry, Nvidia Corp cofounder and CEO Jensen Huang (黃仁勳) said in Taipei yesterday. Huang made the remarks while giving the keynote speech at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) commencement ceremony. AI has created immense opportunities, and versatile companies can be expected to take advantage and boost their position, while less flexible firms would perish, he said. “In every way, this is a rebirth of the computer industry and a golden opportunity for the companies of
‘ARCHAIC’: An interpretation of a law that considered Chinese as Taiwanese nationals was scrapped after the death of a Chinese in Kaohsiung led to state reparations An administrative mandate to consider Chinese as Taiwanese citizens was outdated, Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said yesterday, a day after the Executive Yuan ordered that agencies disregard the 30-year-old interpretation. Chen made the remarks at an event held by the Environmental Protection Administration in Taipei following changes to the administrative mandate concerning the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例). The previous interpretation of the law was archaic and contrary to the workings of laws and regulations, he said, adding that the order was made to avoid unnecessary problems created by the mandate. The Mainland
NOT BUYING IT: One of the goals of Beijing’s Cross-Strait Media People Summit was to draw mainstream media executives to discuss the ‘one country, two systems’ formula Taiwanese news media insist on press freedom and professionalism, and would never become a tool of China’s “united front” campaign, Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said yesterday, responding to media queries about the lack of Taiwanese media executives at the Cross-Strait Media People Summit in Beijing. Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Chairman Wang Huning (王滬寧) was reportedly furious that no Taiwanese media representatives attended a scheduled meeting with him on Thursday last week. “Beijing should take Taiwan’s determination to pursue freedom and democracy seriously. We also hope that it will not use vicious means to interfere with Taiwan’s development into a
IMMIGRATION REFORM: The legislative amendments aim to protect the rights of families to reunify, and to attract skilled professionals to stay and work in Taiwan Foreigners who are highly skilled professionals, top-prize winners in professional disciplines, investment immigration applicants or have made special contributions to Taiwan can soon apply for permanent residency on behalf of their spouses and minor or disabled children after the legislature approved amendments to the Immigration Act (入出國及移民法). The amendments, which were proposed by the Ministry of the Interior and approved by the Executive Yuan on Jan. 12, aim to attract foreign talent to Taiwan and encourage them to stay. They would take effect once they are signed by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The amendments involved changing 63 articles, making it the biggest