Taiwan proposes record defence budget, though spending growth slows

Taiwan’s defence budget has been on a rise since the year 2017 as a reply to perils from China. Taiwan’s 2024 military splurging will rise an ordinary 3.5 per cent year on year to hit a new record high amounting to 2.5 per cent of the island’s gross domestic product, President Tsai Ing-wen said on Monday, as she promised constant attempts to refine defences amid a rising China peril.

China, which has a view on democratically ruled Taiwan as its own area, has built up military and political pressure over the past three years to assert those claims, which Taipei intensely denies. The overall defence budget offered by Ms Tsai, which will require parliamentary approval, is NT$606.8 billion (S$26 billion), compared with NT$586.3 billion for 2023.

That would be the island’s seventh consecutive year of growth in military splurging since 2017, though the rate of rise will be extremely slower than the 14 per cent on-year rise for 2023. Like in 2023, the budget involves a “special budget” for unspecified extra spending. Ms Tsai skipped to give in depth data about that in a statement from her office came to notice after a meeting with senior officials on Taiwan’s overall budget plans.

“Taiwan must go on to polish its self-defence potentials, demonstrate its determination for self-defence, make sure its national safety and interests, and seek more international support,” she said. The budget will be formally put to the Cabinet on Thursday, when more in depth data is anticipated to be released.