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Defense budget should return to 3% of GDP: DPP
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-03-04 02:55 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Defense spending should rise back to at least 3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product and the domestic production of submarines should be speeded up, the Democratic Progressive Party said in a defense blue paper published Tuesday.

The document is an analysis of the military threat China will pose to Taiwan in 2025. Taiwan has for years tried to acquire submarines from other nations, but none has been willing to offer any out of fear of Chinese reprisals.

At the presentation of the defense document, party chairman Su Tseng-chang warned that the country’s defense capabilities were weakening amid a rising tide of defeatism and under a supreme commander of the Armed Forces who showed no determination, a reference to President Ma Ying-jeou.

National defense should be revived with an emphasis on Taiwan’s specific characteristics and spending should be brought back as soon as possible to previous levels of 3 percent or higher, Su said.

The current department in charge of electronic warfare should be upgraded in order to attract more talented specialists in hacking and online strategies, the opposition leader suggested.

He admitted the construction of submarines in Taiwan might be a long-term project which needed a significant level of preparation, including research and development subsidies and the maintenance of experienced staff.

Defense expert Chen Wen-cheng said that if Taiwan started in earnest with the submarine project in 2016, the first vessel might be launched as early as 2022, with at least seven more to follow.

He projected the total cost of the plan at NT$400 billion (US$13.2 billion), or NT$16 billion (US$528 million) per year. In 2012, Taiwan spent 2.22 percent of its GDP on defense, but with the submarine project added on, the total figure would only rise to 2.38 percent, still far away from the target of 3 percent, according to Chen.

Turning to the Air Force, Su identified the development of long-range drones which could also fire missiles as an R&D priority.

The DPP has accused the Ma Administration of weakening Taiwan by insisting on the abolition of compulsory military service and by embarking on closer relations with China. Instances of officers betraying secrets to China grew more numerous over the past years because the military did not know anymore who the enemy was, critics said.

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