Amid rising tensions with China, Taiwan unveils record defence budget
Taipei [Taiwan], August 14: As tensions with China escalates, Taiwan has unveiled a budget with a 10 per cent increase in defence spending for next year.
During a virtual address to Washington-based Hudson Institute on Wednesday, Tsai said that strengthening the island's military defences, including seeking a "constructive security relationship" with the US is her top priority.
"Our 23 million people have the right to determine our own futures, which is [the] antithesis to the position Beijing has taken," she said.
"Upholding these principles requires us to be able to defend Taiwan against coercive actions. It entails backing up words with actions," she added.
This comes amid China signalling that there will be no compromise in its sovereignty claim over the island.
Senior Colonel Zhang Chunhui, a spokesman of the Eastern Theatre Command of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), said the mainland military staged a series of drills in the Taiwan Strait to send a "serious warning" to supporters of independence for the self-ruled island.
For decades, the Chinese government has claimed authority over Taiwan. Though Taiwan is not recognised by the UN, its government maintains a relationship with the US and does not accept the Chinese authority.
The tension between the Taipei and Beijing have escalated. On Monday, Beijing had deployed fighter jets that briefly crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait in a move to show its objection against US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar Taiwan's visit.
According to the report, Taiwan's defence ministry said it had tracked the PLA fighters with its land-based anti-aircraft missiles and had "strongly driven them out".
Last month, Taiwan commenced a five day long live-fire war games exercise putting its defences to the test against a Beijing invasion
Lately, there has been a marked increase in military operations around the island's territorial waters.
In response, the Taiwan government has tried to project strength, appearing alongside officers at a conferral ceremony and calling on the military to remain vigilant.
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