Taipei, Aug. 6 (CNA) Taiwan will spend more than one-fifth of its defense budget next year on the development of indigenous weapons, in line with the government's policy of strengthening national security, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Monday.
In the government's proposals for the 2019 national budget, defense spending has been increased by NT$18.3 billion (US$592.6 million) from the previous year to NT$346 billion, which represents 2.16 percent of the country's gross domestic product, Tsai said.
Of the total defense budget, NT$73.6 billion, or 21.3 percent, will be spent on developing indigenous defense systems, an increase of NT$25 billion, as part of the effort to build Taiwan's warfare capability, she said.
The allocations also include NT$95.1 billion for military investment, an increase of NT$13.9 billion from the previous year, Tsai said during the unveiling of a plaque at the Navy Command Headquarters.
The plaque, which bears the inscription "New Navy Sets Sail," symbolizes the beginning of a new era for the Navy, during which it will use domestically built submarines, Tsai said, referring to Taiwan's ongoing construction of defense submarines.
Since the late 1980s when Taiwan bought two Dutch-built Zwaardvis-class diesel submarines, it has had difficulty procuring others and had been planning to build its own, Tsai said.
She said that due to several daunting challenges, however, the idea got stuck until she came to office in 2016.
"Faced with such challenges, we should try to resolve them, instead of recoiling in fear," the president said.
In keeping with her administration's policy of developing indigenous submarines, she said, it has been integrating the resources of industry, academia, government and international partners.
"Step by step, we have been making progresses in resolving the bottlenecks in innovation and manufacturing," Tsai said.