14 Januari 2010
Taiwanese army (photo : far-maroc)
TAIPEI - TAIWAN has scaled back its military budget for 2010, officials said Tuesday, amid generally warming ties with its former bitter rival China.
Taiwan's parliament, controlled by the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang party, rubber-stamped a budget of NT$297.4 billion (S$12.9 billion) for the defence ministry.
It is a 6.7 per cent fall from the NT$318.6 billion budget in 2009, the Cabinet-level Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said.
Ties between Taipei and Beijing have eased markedly since President Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang was elected in March 2008 on a platform to boost trade with the mainland and to allow in more Chinese tourists.
Even so, Taiwan remains wary of China's objectives, often citing more than 1,000 missiles lined up on its coastline facing the island.
The US Defense Department announced last week that it had approved the sale of Patriot missile equipment to Taiwan as part of a package passed by Congress more than a year ago. The arms deal sparked strong protests from Beijing, who warned that the move would violate its security and severely undermine trust between the United States and Chinese militaries.