Major local newspapers cited a ruling Kuomintang legislator as reporting Monday that the military has budgeted NT$30 million (US$1.03 million) this year for the development a long-range precision-guided missile which would be able to hit military bases in coastal southeastern China in the event of war.
A same amount would also be budgeted next year for the precision-guided missile development plan, code-named the Hsiangyang Project.
Meanwhile, a media report said the ratio of defense spending to the government’s overall budget has been on a steady decline, set to drop to a mere 15.96 percent in 2012.
The following are excerpts from local media coverage of defense-related issues:
United Daily News:
The missile system to be developed under the Hsiangyang Project is not a ballistic missile, but a new long-distance precision-guided one, said Legislator Lin Yu-fang.
The military-run Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology has been developing the new missile for some time, but there were still few details available on the new weapon, Lin said.
In the coming two years, he said, the Missile Command will design and build bases and safety systems for this new type of missile, scheduled to come online by 2013.
According to Lin, the new missile, coupled with other indigenously developed weapons such as the Hsiungfeng 2E cruise missile, Hsiungfeng III supersonic anti-ship missile and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) bomb, would be used as effective deterrents should China launch attacks on Taiwan.
“In the event of war, our military would be able to use the new homemade missile to strike ballistic missile bases deployed along China’s southeastern coast, without the need to send jet fighters near mainland targets,” Lin said. (Aug. 22, 2011).
According to the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, the country’s defense spending is projected at NT$309.6 billion for the coming year, accounting for 15.966 percent of total government expenditures.
The figure was lower than 16.048 percent in 2011, 16.639 percent in 2010 and 17.224 percent in 2009. In contrast, China’s defense budget has continued double-digit growth over the past two decades.
In March this year, China said its military spending for this year would post 12.7 percent growth, totaling about 600 billion Chinese yuan. Most military observers said they believe China’s hidden defense spending is probably much bigger than the revealed amount.