Taiwan Boosts Military Spending as China Looms

Taipei unveiled a significant increase in its defense budget, with an eye to Beijing's crackdown on Hong Kong.

Foreign Policy
Date: August 15, 2019
By: Lara Seligman

Taiwan army soldiers pose for photos on an US-made M60-A3 tank after a life-fire exercise in Taichung, central Taiwan, on January 17, 2019. (Photo by SAM YEH / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)

Taiwan army soldiers pose for photos on an US-made M60-A3 tank after a life-fire exercise in Taichung, central Taiwan, on January 17, 2019. (SAM YEH/AFP/Getty Images)

What’s on tap: Taiwan increases its defense budget with an eye to Hong Kong, Trump sends a delegation to Syria to hash out the details of a safe zone with Turkey, and the U.S. Air Force finds dangerous cyber vulnerabilities in a sophisticated fighter jet. 

Taiwan’s Defense Boost

Record increase. Taiwan on Thursday unveiled its largest defense spending boost in more than a decade in a sharp signal to its neighbor China, which considers the island nation its own and has threatened to use force against it. 

President Tsai Ing-wen’s cabinet signed off on an 8.3 percent increase in military spending for next year as Beijing ramps up military pressure on Taiwan, conducting drills around it and flying jets across the border. Beijing has refused to rule out using military force to bring the self-ruling island back in line if there is any move toward Taiwan’s independence. 

An eye to Hong Kong. Taipei’s move to increase military spending is not happening in a vacuum. China has been quietly extending its reach across the world, from using predatory economic practices in Africa to intimidating fishing vessels in the Philippines. Most concerning is Beijing’s reaction to what began as peaceful protests in Hong Kong, and now have escalated to violent street clashes and chaos at the city’s airport.    [FULL  STORY]

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