Taiwan’s defense spending has not kept pace with the threat posed by China and should be increased, according to a senior US defense official.
This comes days after President-elect Donald Trump touched off a storm by questioning American policy over the island, Reuters reports.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Abraham Denmark said the Obama administration’s “One China” policy remains unchanged but he could not predict Trump’s intentions when he takes office on Jan. 20.
Trump set off a diplomatic firestorm over the weekend when he questioned why the United States should be bound by the long-standing policy under which Washington recognizes Beijing rather than Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province.
This followed an earlier Chinese protest over Trump’s telephone conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Dec. 2, the first involving a US President-elect or president since 1979.
Some US analysts warn that Trump could provoke a military confrontation if he presses the Taiwan issue too far.
Denmark told the Project 2049 Forum in Washington that the main focus of China’s military modernization program was to achieve reunification with Taiwan, by force if necessary.
“This makes it incumbent on Taiwan to prepare and invest in capabilities to deter aggression and mount an effective defense if deterrence fails,” he said.
“Defense resourcing is critical,” he said. “Taiwan’s defense budget has not kept pace with the threat developments and should be increased.”
The United States is the main political ally and sole arms supplier to diplomatically isolated Taiwan.
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