03:23 GMT08 April 2020
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    Taiwan's military budget is expected to increase to more than $13.1 billion by 2027, as the self-ruled island attempts to boost its defense capabilities against Beijing.

    Taiwan President Tsa Ing-wen's government has increased the country's military budget to $11.34 billion this year, marking a 5.6 percent jump since last year. On Monday, Taiwan military spokesperson Chen Chung-chi told reporters that the Defense Ministry has set a 10-year-budget to increase military funding to over $13.1 billion by 2027. 

    "This is based on our estimation," Chen said, the South China Morning Post reported, also noting that China has ramped up military drills near Taiwan's coast.

    Taiwan is an island nation off the southern coast of China that has been governed independently from mainland China since 1949. Beijing views the island as its province, while Taiwan maintains that it is an autonomous state, having political and economic relations with several other countries that recognize its sovereignty, Sputnik previously reported.

    On Monday, Chinese bombers and warships conducted drills around the island, Reuters reported.

    "Any attempt to influence Taiwan through threats or coercion, we believe, destabilizes the region and threatens stability in the Taiwan Strait," James Moriarty, chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan, said at a Monday ceremony acknowledging US-Taiwan relations. 

    "It hurts stability. It damages the cross-strait relationship. It damages any attempt by China to win the hearts and minds of Taiwan people," Moriarty added, Reuters reported.

    Last month, the US sent Navy and Coast Guard ships through the Taiwan Strait, which divides Taiwan from mainland China, to demonstrate the US' commitment to freedom of navigation operations in the region.


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