The Legislative Yuan Budget Center issued a warning that military personnel costs for the next fiscal year are 53.7 percent of the central government’s personnel budget, the highest in the past five years.
The center’s report for last month, titled Evaluation of the Central Government Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2019, said that the Executive Yuan should find additional sources of funding for the nation’s growing defense budget, a call the center also made the previous month.
The central government’s personnel budget for next year is NT$426.7 billion (US$13.8 billion), of which 155.7 billion, or 36.5 percent, is allocated to the Ministry of National Defense, the report said.
When the Veterans Affairs Council’s budget for military pensions are included, the military’s share of the central government’s personnel costs increases to 53.7 percent, it said.
That a majority of the central government’s personnel budget is expended by the ministry reflects “a use of resources that is obviously biased toward a minority of apparatuses and a specific subset of governmental personnel,” it said.
Additionally, the Ministry of National Defense’s operational budget next year of NT$265.7 billion is an annual increase of 26.2 billion, or 10.9 percent, most of which is accounted for by costs associated with the procurement and maintenance of military equipment, it said.
The total cost of military equipment is 45.8 percent of the central government’s operating budget, it said.
The Executive Yuan should take measures to alleviate the concentration of personnel and operational funding going to the ministry, it said.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said that since former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration decided to transition to a volunteer military, the problem has been building up and there is no solution for it at the moment.
Should the government continue with the plan for an all-volunteer military, increasing national defense costs are inevitable, Wang said.
“One of the few things we can do would be to maximize the return on the military budget by making precise military investments, and increasing personnel quality and operational efficiency,” he said.
In its report for July, Analysis of Central Government Budget, Expenditures and Allocation of Resources Trends in Recent Years, the center said that the ministry has repeatedly raised salaries and benefits to encourage enlistment, which will increase long-term defense costs.
The government should expand revenue before the military’s personnel costs began to crowd out other public programs, the July report said.
The heads of three major US banks on Wednesday pledged that they would withdraw from the Chinese market if Washington imposed sanctions on Beijing in response to an invasion of Taiwan. JP Morgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, Bank of America chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan and Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser told lawmakers at a hearing of the US House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services in Washington that the three banks would follow the guidance of the US government to exit China if necessary. The three bankers made the pledge after US Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer asked the three if they
HIGH STAKES: An attack on Taiwan could prompt a joint response from the US and Japan, and trigger a global conflict that could bring down the CCP, Liu Tai-ying said The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would not be able to launch an invasion of Taiwan for at least another 10 years, Taiwan Research Institute founder Liu Tai-ying (劉泰英) said on Friday. To occupy Taiwan, China needs to transport at least 300,000 to 400,000 troops across the Taiwan Strait during battle, but it would lack the ability to do so for at least another decade, said Liu, a former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) treasurer and a close aide to former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝). The challenges that China would face during an attempted invasion of Taiwan would be even greater than those
CHINA CRITIC: Prime ministerial candidate Giorgia Meloni, the front-runner in today’s election, said that she would not renew a Belt and Road Initiative deal with Beijing Italian lawmaker Giorgia Meloni, the front-runner to become the country’s next prime minister, is expected to reverse course on Italy’s support for China’s Belt and Road Initiative and strengthen ties with Taiwan if a coalition headed by her party wins the country’s general election today. “Without any doubt, if there is a center-right government, it is sure that Taiwan will be an essential concern for Italy,” Meloni told the Central News Agency in an interview. Italians are to vote in a snap election triggered by the resignation of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi following a failed attempt to get his coalition partners
HAWAII MODEL: While Hawaii held a referendum on becoming the 50th US state, Taiwan has never applied to join the People’s Republic of China, Miles Yu said China comparing Taiwanese independence to Hawaii seeking independence from the US is illogical, as Taiwan has never applied to be a part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Hudson Institute senior fellow Miles Yu (余茂春) said over the weekend. Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅), who is in New York for the UN General Assembly, has given multiple talks asserting Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan. In a speech to the Asia Society on Thursday, Wang likened Taiwan to Hawaii. “Just as the US would not allow Hawaii to break away,” Beijing “reserves the right” to seek unification, Wang told the gathering. The