Taiwan yesterday unveiled an increase of T$42.1 billion (HK$10.92 billion) in next year's defense plan, as China announced details of its latest combat drills near the island.
China has stepped up its military activity near Taiwan, with fighter planes briefly crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait on Monday, the same day US health chief Alex Azar met President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei.
Tsai's cabinet is proposing T$453.4 billion in military spending for the year starting in January, compared to T$411.3 billion budgeted for this year, up 10.2 percent. "The steady increase in the defense budget will facilitate the implementation of various military-building and war-preparation tasks, and ensure national security and regional peace and stability," Taiwan's Defense Ministry said.
About three hours after the budget announcement, the People's Liberation Army said its forces carried out combat drills in the Taiwan Strait "in response to the current security situation ... and to safeguard national sovereignty."