Taipei, Aug. 30 (CNA) The 2011 national defense budget proposalof NT$297.2 billion that was sent to the legislature Monday containeda far less amount for classified programs than the previous year, aruling party lawmaker said Monday.
Of the total amount, NT$272.7 billion was listed as open funds,while NT$24.5 billion was categorized as funds for classifiedspending, said Kuomintang Legislator Lin Yu-fang.
This was a significant cut of NT$14.7 billion, or 37.5 percent,in the amount of classified funds compared to the previous annualbudget, Lin said.
The budget for classified programs was reduced to 8.25 percent ofthe total, shrinking it to below 10 percent for the first time, hesaid.
"The big drop was seen not because budgets have been cutsignificantly, but because many items that were listed under theclassified category were moved to the open category," he said.
"The national defense budget for 2011 could be most transparentin history," he added.
The overall defense budget of NT$297.2 billion was NT$200 millionless than the previous year, and represented a 16.6 percent of the2011 national budget, he said.
Because big payments will have to be made soon in the arms dealswith the United States, he said, other weapons procurement spendingfor 2011 will be less than NT$1 billion -- the lowest in recentyears.
As result, several other arms procurement projects have beenshelved or canceled, Lin said.
However, military production and research and development ofdefensive arms has remained steady, he said.
"This shows that the government, while seeking to improvecross-strait relations, has not ignored the importance ofstrengthening national defense," Lin said.
The Navy has listed an open budget of NT$891,000 to examine tanklanding ships in the U.S., which indicates that it may want to leaseone or two Newport-class tank landing craft, he said.
(By Su Lung-chi and Lilian Wu)