Taipei, Oct. 23 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) told a delegation from a Washington-based think tank on Monday that Taiwan will continue to increase military spending as it works to strengthen its national defense capabilities.
In a meeting with representatives of the Hudson Institute, including its president Kenneth Weinstein, Tsai said Taiwan maintains stable and close economic and regional security relations with the United States.
As the head of state, Tsai said one of her priorities is to strengthen Taiwan's defense capabilities and promote the development of its defense industry, and the government plans to increase the defense budget to enhance military training and boost military morale.
The president also said Taiwan has made many efforts in this area, and she looked forward to receiving suggestions from the think tank, particularly in the fields of military reforms and cooperation to strengthen regional peace and stability.
Tsai did not say how much of an increase in spending she was hoping for, but earlier this year in March, the government suggested it wanted to increase defense spending to 3 percent of GDP, from about 2 percent at present.
That would have necessitated a 50 percent increase in defense spending, but the Ministry of National Defense's proposed budget for fiscal 2018 submitted in early October of NT$327.8 billion (US$10.79 billion) was only 1.9 percent higher than its NT$321.7 billion budget for 2017.