No plan to spend US$5.2b on arms purchases in 2021: Taiwan military

Taiwan military procurements totaled a record US$11.8 billion this year, which is equivalent to an average monthly military expenditure of NT$14,500 per national. (NOWnews file photo)

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) – The Ministry of National Defense (MND, 國防部) said Sunday that there are no plans for new military procurements valued at US$5.2 billion next year.

The ministry was responding to a comment made a day earlier by Brent Christensen, director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), who announced that Taiwan could be the No. 1 customer for U.S. arms sales in 2020.

Speaking at a forum hosted by the Association of International Relations in Taipei, Christensen said Taiwan has spent the most on U.S. arms in a single year, adding that US$5.2 billion of arms sales are already planned for next year with more procurement opportunities expected.

The MND expressed its appreciation for the U.S. supply of defensive weapons to Taiwan in accordance with the “Taiwan Relations Act” (台灣關係法) and the “Six Assurances” (六項保證) which have helped to strengthen our overall defense capabilities and ensure peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and the Indo-Pacific region.

Enhancement of the national army’s defensive capabilities and the acquisition of weapons and equipment are all prioritized for defense autonomy, the MND said, stressing that they will be acquired through military procurements if they cannot be acquired in the short term.

After the Legislative Yuan (Parliament) approves the budget, the military will carry out the relevant operations according to the approved budget to acquire weapons and equipment on time and within budget, the MND added.

Chinese-language media have calculated that this year’s military procurements totaled a record US$11.8 billion this year, which is equivalent to an average monthly military expenditure of NT$14,500 per national.

A highlight of the procurements this year was the sale of 18 advanced MK-48 Mod 6AT heavyweight torpedoes valued at more than NT$5.5 billion.