Legislators Review National Defense Budget 審國防預算 藍委要求凍結30億潛艦預算

Some legislators requested to freeze NT$3 billion in budget for the new generation of domestically made missile and submarines over concerns for the equipment and technology. In the end, legislators were concerned about the navy's confidentiality and decided to keep the case, and then proceeded to review it in a secret meeting. 

The most eye-catching item in the Legislative Yuan's Foreign and National Defense Committee's national defense budget review for next year is the submarine budget of NT$9.5 billion. KMT legislator Ma Wen-chun questioned whether export authorizations for certain parts have been secured from manufacturing countries and asked to freeze NT$3 billion of the budget. However, DPP legislators believe that it is not easy for the country to build the first submarine and break through China's international suppression and obstruction. Public explanation of details will invite further difficulties by China.

Ma Wen-chun, Legislator (KMT): “The first submarine may not be good enough. But if you can still remedy it, you should do it. What we are asking is that you have completed it well. You shouldn't be lying here.”

Tsai Shih-ying, Legislator (DPP): “Temporarily reserved until the second stage. We will open a secret meeting to discuss this content. I think it might be possible to use this procedure to let everyone know more details.”

Both parties have their own positions. Finally, the committee decided to keep the whole case until the second round of party consultations and held a secret meeting to answer questions. Another important project is the four-thousand-ton domestically produced new-generation missile frigate. The build has been delayed because the radar system developed by the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science & Technology has proven ineffective. KMT and DPP legislators agreed and asked the Navy to clarify how it will continue.

Chiang Cheng-kuo, Chief of Naval Command: “We are indeed making relevant considerations based on China's fixed reconnaissance cruisers and their tonnage. But I'm reporting to the committee that as of right now, we are indeed still undecided.”

Wang Ting-yu, Legislator (DPP): “If the project's other budget besides business expenses are frozen, then we see when it will be released. If it's not released for the whole year, then the budget for next year will be interesting.”

In the end, the committee decided to freeze the budget of more than NT$5 million and wait for the Navy's report before deciding whether to unfreeze it. Bloomberg News reported that the number of Chinese military aircraft disrupting Taiwan this year is more than twice that of 2020, and there may be more next year. Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said that the only thing the Taiwanese military has to do is to fully prepare. U.S. President Biden formally signed the National Defense Authorization Act, including Congress' recommendation that Taiwan be invited to participate in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise next year. Chiu said we are positive about developments that are helpful to us but we also have to consider our capabilities and not just accept everything that comes our way.