President Tsai Ing-wen’s Cabinet is proposing military spending of about $16.9 billion for the year starting in January, up from this year’s budget of 16.2 billion, the government said in a statement.
That number includes $1.4 billion for new fighter jets. The government did not give details but is likely referring to F-16s.
The United States in 2019 approved an $8 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, a deal that would bring the island’s total to more than 200, the largest F-16 fleet in Asia.
The rate of increase would be smaller than the 10% rise budgeted for this year, according to Reuters calculations based on government data.
Taiwan’s proposed defense budget is the third-largest government expenditure for next year, after social welfare and combined spending on education, science and culture.
The budget must be approved by Parliament, where Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party has a large majority, making its approval easier.
Tsai has made modernizing Taiwan’s armed forces — well-armed, but dwarfed by China’s — and increasing defense spending a priority.
Taiwan plans to spend $1.4 billion on new fighter jets