Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) confirmed that the arms budget stalemate is a cause of great concern for the US, and the inability to pass the arms procurement bill has caused the US to say that it does not rule out the possibility of canceling the sale of other already agreed-upon arms.
In an hour-long meeting with Wang on Thursday, former chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Richard Bush focused on the legislature's delay in passing the arms procurement bill.
During the meeting, Bush was said to have asked Wang why Taiwan will not show the will to defend itself by increasing the defense budget to three percent of GDP [approx. NT$300 billion (US$8.95 billion)]. Wang replied that if the special arms budget is added to the current defense budget that it will indeed bring the amount up to at least three percent of GDP.
The special budget that would have allowed Taiwan to purchase three major weapons systems from the US -- including 12 P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft, three PAC-3 Patriot anti-missile batteries and eight diesel-electric submarines -- was proposed by the government last year.
The special budget has languished in the Legislative Yuan ever since, due to opposition from the pan-blue alliance, which holds a legislative majority.
Wang said that to resolve the differences over the issue, he has on several occasions told President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) that, to win the pan-blue camp's support, Chen must explain the failure of the referendum on the arms procurement issue.
He said he has also told Chen that since the People First Party (PFP) is more strongly opposed to the bill than the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), that he must try to improve his relationship with PFP Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜).
The Ministry of National Defense has even removed the cost of the Patriot missiles from the special budget, seen as a major concession to critics of the bill, and included them in the annual defense budget.
But on Nov. 9, the legislature's National Defense Committee and the Budget and Final Accounts Committee slashed the NT$10.9 billion that was put aside to buy the Patriot missile batteries from the budget.
A Singaporean social media streamer who goes by the pseudonym Kiaraakitty faked an egg attack by an alleged passerby during a livestream in Kaohsiung on Feb. 9, the city’s police department said on Saturday. The department was responding to the streamer’s claim earlier this month that a stranger had thrown eggs at her during a recent visit to Kaohsiung. Kiaraakitty is known for posting provocative content on livestreaming sites such as Twitch and Discord, as well as other social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. She also posts on paid adult content Web site OnlyFans. In the video dated Feb. 9,
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