Increasing defense budget shows Taiwan’s resolve: Chen


President Chen Shui-bian said yesterday that Taiwan’s 2008 defense budget will for the first time account for 3 percent of its GDP, reflecting the country’s determination to maintain its self-defense capacity.

Chen made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the National Defense University (NDU) new campus in Taoyuan, northern Taiwan.

Due to Taiwan’s geographic characteristics — being small and surrounded by ocean waters — Chen said Taiwan will have to be ready to face immediate threats from the enemy because it will have little warning ahead of an attack.

In addition, Taiwan will not have a single, well-defined front line to defend in case of wars, Chen added, urging the NDU, the cradle of the country’s high-ranking military officers, to train the three branches of the nation’s military forces for joint operations and thereby beef up Taiwan’s combat capability.

With Taiwan’s recent military reforms and its planned procurement of three big-ticket weaponry systems, Taiwan is determined to defend itself, safeguard peace across Taiwan Strait, and help assure regional safety and stability, Chen added.