Taiwan adds $8.6 billion to defense budget
The announcement comes amid more than a year of rising tensions.
The Taiwanese parliament approved a bill of adding almost $8.6 billion to its defense budget on Tuesday.
After tensions with China reached a 40-year peak in recent months, the government recommended a five-year special defense budget of roughly $8.6 billion beginning in 2022.
A coastal anti-ship missile system, a domestically designed Wan Chien (Ten Thousand Swords) cruise missile, an attack drone system, and the installation of combat equipment aboard coastguard ships are all part of the budget.
China considers the island of Taiwan an integral part of its territory and thus has long sought to reincorporate it into the mainland.
The government plans to boost the island's sea and air capabilities, although late last week Taiwan began deporting Chinese individuals for the first time in more than a year, after China's repatriation of a Taiwanese fugitive in a rare show of cooperation as tensions escalate.
In October 2021, during his testimony at his Senate confirmation hearing as ambassador to Beijing, US diplomat Nicholas Burns said China could not be trusted on Taiwan, and stressed the necessity of the US selling more weapons to Taiwan to enhance its deterrence against China.
Although the US closed its embassy in Taipei and severed its ties in 1979, they remain a key ally and have communicated their support on many occasions. In October, President Joe Biden said the US would defend Taiwan if China were to attack. When asked in a CNN town hall about defending Taiwan against China, the Democrat said, "Yes." "We have a commitment to that," he added.
In September of 2021 The United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia formed Thursday a defense alliance to boost nuclear capabilities and "strengthen stability in the Indo-Pacific region."
Through the pact, western powers are increasing their naval presence in the Indo-Pacific theater, while also reconfiguring their troop presence on land in Central Asia. The West is currently trying to strengthen its international alliances against China, and Russia alongside it. Taiwan is key in this regard, as it can play the role of a powerful ally in what China considers an integral part of its national territory.
Pentagon official: Boosting Taiwan's defenses an "urgent task"
A month ago, the US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Ely Ratner said bolstering Taiwan's self-defenses is an "urgent task" to 'deter' China.
Ratner clarified, in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the future of the US' policy on Taiwan, that the Pentagon is committed to maintaining the capacity of the United States to resist the "coercion, whether by force or otherwise, of Taiwan."
US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, had earlier said that Chinese military flights near Taiwan look like "rehearsals", and reiterated Washington's "strong support" for the island.
US at risk of paying 'unbearable price' over Taiwan
The United States risks paying an "unbearable price for its actions regarding Taiwan, according to Wang Yi, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister.
"The US violated the promises made when China and the US established diplomatic relations, condoned and encouraged 'Taiwan independence' forces, and tried to distort and hollow out the one-China principle," Wang Yi said.
By encouraging 'Taiwan independence' forces, the United States "not only puts Taiwan into an extremely dangerous situation but also exposes the United States to an unbearable price", Wang said.