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    Taiwan to Increase Defense Budget by $598.6 Mln in 2019 - Prime Minister

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    BEIJING (Sputnik) - Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China (ROC), intends to increase its defense spending by $598.6 million in 2019 in order to increase its capacities to ensure peace and stability in the region, but also to demonstrate the territory's self-sufficiency to Beijing, ROC Prime Minister Lai Ching‑te said.

    "Taiwan will increase its defense spending by $598.6 million, which will demonstrate the island's self-sufficiency and ability to defend itself," the ROC prime minister said in an interview with Sanlih E-Television channel on Friday.

    He added that the pressure from China did not contribute to the improvement of relations between Beijing and Taipei and only pushed Taiwan to further strengthen its capabilities.

     

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    "Beijing will not succeed by using threats against [Taiwan], it will only trigger more skepticism in Taiwan with regard to China," the ROC prime minister said.

    He told Liberty Times that the new defense budget of NT$346 billion (US$11 billion) for 2019 was 5.6 percent higher than the previous year, which stood at NT$327.7 billion (US$10.6 billion), according to Taiwan News.

    Official relations between Chinese central authorities and Taiwan were suspended in 1949, when the Kuomintang government led by Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taipei after being defeated by the Chinese Communist Party; they proceeded to assert the authority of the Republic of China on the island. The People's Republic of China does not recognize Taiwanese independence and claims the island is part of China. Taiwan similarly does not recognize the central government in Beijing.

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