Taipei, March 3 (CNA) Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said Saturday that Taiwan will increase its national defense budget in order to join neighboring countries in preserving regional peace.
Speaking at the first East Asia Peace Forum in Taipei, Lai said the major threats to stability in the Asia Pacific region are North Korea’s nuclear missile tests and China’s increasingly frequent military drills in the East and South China Seas.
In the face of such challenges, Lai said, Taiwan will increase its national defense budget to help with the efforts of other Asian countries to protect regional peace and will fully support the United Nations’ sanctions against North Korea.
His comments reflected similar statements last year by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who said Taiwan’s defense budget would be increased by least 2 percent annually to build a strong defense force, amid the U.S.’ growing concern over a military imbalance between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.
At the forum, Lai also invited the participants to put forth ideas for dealing with the security crises in Asia.
(By Elaine Hou and Kuan-lin Liu)