Next year could see changes to the budget allocated to the military for the acquisition of important military equipment such as F-16C/D multi-purpose aircraft and submarines, a defense official said.
A senior military official who requested anonymity said the Ministry of National Defense had been forced to return NT$1 billion (US$34 million) allotted for military equipment purchases to the national treasury because Washington was stalling on a decision to sell the submarine plans and F-16C/D aircraft long requested by Taipei.
Because of this, the ministry has decided that starting next year, it would only allocate the “lowest operational necessity” costs for the potential purchase of the submarine plans and F-16C/Ds, the official said, adding that the funding would very likely be lowered to about US$10 million and become symbolic funding rather than actual funding.
This does not mean that the Republic of China government has grown pessimistic about or is no longer interested in acquiring the F-16C/Ds and submarine plans from the US, the official said.
No loose cash
On concerns that the military would have insufficient funds if Washington finally agreed to the sale, the official said the ministry could always ask the Executive Yuan for permission to use an additional budget to cover the first year of purchases, adding that subsequent payments could then be reflected in annual defense budgets.
In all, Taipei has requested a total of 66 F-16C/Ds to replace its aging fleet of F-5 aircraft and keep up with a modernizing Chinese air force.
Another plan that could be approved late this year or next year is a refurbishment program for Taiwan’s fleet of 146 F-16A/Bs, at an estimated cost of US$4.5 billion.
TRANSLATED BY JAKE CHUNG, STAFF WRITER
First-time politician Mai Yamada’s (山田摩衣) Japanese name has attracted attention in Chinese-language media after her win in the New Taipei City Council election on Saturday. Born to a Taiwanese mother and Japanese father, the 32-year-old Taiwanese-Japanese stood out after becoming one of nine elected city councilors in Banciao District (板橋) in the nation’s local government elections on Saturday. Although she has a Japanese name, she grew up and was educated in Taiwan, Yamada said, adding that “Taiwan is my home.” Before running for local government, Yamada, who speaks fluent Japanese and English, was Legislative Speaker You Si-kun’s (游錫堃) secretary. She has been involved in
Mask easing: Teachers are allowed to take their masks off while lecturing indoors, but students should keep theirs on, as COVID-19 measures ease this week The Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday released new on-campus COVID-19 prevention guidelines, stating that masks can be taken off while exercising, singing, dancing, performing, taking photographs, dining, drinking, video and voice recording, hosting events, presenting speeches and lecturing outdoors. Large outdoor events organized by schools should comply with the mask regulations issued by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), it added. The new guidelines came into effect yesterday, and people in Taiwan are no longer required to wear masks outdoors for the first time since May 19 last year. The CECC announced the easing of the mask mandate on Monday, adding that it
CROSS-PARTY SUPPORT: For the amendment to pass, 50% of all eligible voters would have had to support the initiative, with about 9.62 million ‘yes’ votes cast Non-governmental organizations and student groups expressed disappointment on Saturday evening at the failure of a referendum that would have lowered the voting age in Taiwan from 20 to 18, and they hinted at other steps to address the issue. The referendum, which asked voters to approve a proposed constitutional amendment granting voting rights to citizens aged 18 and over along with the right to run for office, was held in conjunction with local government elections on Saturday. The referendum fell short of the threshold — nearly 9.62 million “yes” votes — needed to pass, as only 5.65 million voters backed the proposed
‘SEXUAL ASSAULT’: Taipei prosecutors said that cooperation agreements between Taiwan and the Czech Republic grant Czech officials protection against prosecution The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday reaffirmed that it would not charge a Czech official with sexual assault because he is protected by diplomatic immunity. The office released a statement saying it has verified that the man works for the Czech Economic and Cultural Office Taipei’s foreign affairs corps and is thereby protected from criminal prosecution. A foreign graduate student in Taiwan had filed a complaint alleging that the section head of the Czech Economic and Trade Section had sexually assaulted her on April 21 last year. The woman said the Czech official had invited her to his home and then forced her