The Presidential Office, the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked the US for approving a US$500 million arms sale package to Taiwan on Wednesday.
The US Department of State approved the sale of F-16 Infrared Search and Track systems and related equipment for an estimated cost of US$500 million, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a press release.
The agency delivered certification notifying the US Congress of the sale on the same day, it said.
Photo: Yimou Lee, Reuters
“This proposed sale serves US national, economic and security interests by supporting the recipient’s continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability,” it said.
The sale can help improve Taiwan’s security and maintain regional political stability, military balance and economic progress, it said.
In Taipei yesterday, the Ministry of National Defense said that the sale, which is expected to take effect in one month, would bolster the ability of its fleet of F-16s to detect and track long-distance targets, and greatly enhance the effectiveness of air combat.
The foreign ministry thanked the US government for continuing to help the nation to improve its self-defense capabilities in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act and the “six assurances.”
This is the 11th arms sale approved by the administration of US President Joe Biden, which has continued its policy of normalizing arms sales to Taiwan and demonstrated that it considers Taiwan’s defense needs a high priority, the foreign ministry said.
Taiwan will continue to demonstrate its self-defense determination, strengthen the national defense force and safeguard national security and interests, Presidential Office spokeswoman Olivia Lin (林聿禪) said.
It will also continue to deepen its security partnership with the US, as well as cooperate with like-minded countries to jointly safeguard peace, stability and prosperity in the Taiwan Strait and the Indo-Pacific region, Lin said.
Meanwhile, the Executive Yuan approved a NT$440.6 billion (US$13.86 billion) national defense budget — or about 2.5 percent of GDP — as part of the proposed general budget for next year, the Cabinet told a post-meeting news conference.
The figure would be a year-on-year increase of 7.7 percent, or NT$31.4 billion, Cabinet officials said.
If the NT$94.3 billion special budget for obtaining new fighter jets and missiles are included, total military expenditure would rise to NT$543.9 billion, an annual increase of 3.3 percent, or NT$17.4 billion, they said.
Adding NT$71.9 billion in nonprofit special funds, national defense spending for next year would rise to NT$606.8 billion, an increase of NT$31.4 billion from this year, officials said.
Excluding all special budget items, non-profit and for-profit special funds and other unlisted expenditures, the nation’s military spending would comprise 15 percent of the general budget, or NT$431.2 billion, they said.
If the Legislative Yuan passes the budget, it would mean that defense expenditure would have increased 38 percent since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office eight years ago, Premier Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) told reporters.
According to the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, next year’s proposed national defense budget includes NT$130.6 billion in military investments and NT$179 billion in personnel costs.
PALAU LAUNCHES: The source said that Taiwanese military personnel traveled to Palau, where a US brigade watched their work amid plans for a defense network The military last month participated in live-fire launches of MM-104F Patriot (PAC-3) missiles under US observation in an undisclosed location in Palau, a step forward in a US-led plan to create a joint defense missile system in the first island chain, a source said on condition of anonymity. The PAC-3 is the mainstay surface-to-air missile of the US, NATO and democratic nations in East Asia, the source said, adding that it has never been live-tested within Taiwan’s borders, the source said. The proximity of Taiwan to China and China’s close surveillance of the nation’s borders and nearby sea zones is a significant
IN MOURNING: Tsai visited the site and spoke with family members of those killed, while all the major presidential candidates said they would temporarily halt campaigning A fire and subsequent explosions at a golf ball factory at Pingtung Technology Industrial Park (屏東科技產業園區) killed at least seven people, including four firefighters, and injured 98, while three were still missing, authorities said yesterday. The blaze at Launch Technologies Co’s (明揚國際) plant on Jingjian Road raged for more than 12 hours after it started at about 5pm on Friday, officials said. The Pingtung County Fire Bureau early yesterday used large excavators to search for missing people, while family members waited at the scene. Pingtung County Fire Bureau Director Hsu Mei-hsueh (許美雪) said the bureau received a call about the fire at 5:31pm
DETERRENCE: The president on Thursday is to launch the first indigenous submarine, which is to enter sea trials next month before being delivered to the navy next year Taiwan hopes to deploy at least two new, domestically developed submarines by 2027, and possibly equip later models with missiles to bolster its deterrence against the Chinese navy and protect key supply lines, the head of the program said. Taiwan has made the Indigenous Submarine Program a key part of an ambitious project to modernize its armed forces as Beijing stages almost daily military exercises. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who initiated the program when she took office in 2016, is expected to launch the first of eight new submarines on Thursday under a plan that has drawn on expertise and technology from
FISHING FUROR: The latest spat was sparked by a floating barrier that was found across the entrance of Scarborough Shoal during a resupply mission to fishers Beijing yesterday warned Manila not to “stir up trouble” after the Philippine Coast Guard said it removed a floating barrier at a disputed reef that was allegedly deployed by China to block Filipino fishers from the area. Scarborough Shoal (Huangyan Island, 黃岩島) in the South China Sea has long been a source of tension between the nations. China seized the ring of reefs from the Philippines in 2012 and has since deployed patrol boats. The latest spat was sparked by a 300m floating barrier that was found across the entrance of the shoal last week during a routine Philippine government resupply mission