Taiwan announces plans for record defence budget after China drills

Taiwan announced plans for a record increase to its defence budget on Thursday after huge military drills by China earlier this month sent tensions between the two to their

highest in decades. Taipei has proposed a defence budget of Tw$415.1 billion ($13.7 billion) for next year, up 13 percent year-on-year, pending parliamentary

approval. An additional special budget will also be created specifically to acquire new fighter jets and other projects to boost naval and air capabilities, the top

budgeting agency said in a statement. "To protect national security, the overall defence budget for next year will reach Tw$586.3 billion to a record high," a cabinet

spokesman quoted Premier Su Tseng-chang as saying. Taiwan lives under constant threat of invasion by China, which claims the democratic island as part of its territory to be

seized one day -- by force if necessary.  Beijing's sabre-rattling has grown more pronounced under President Xi Jinping, China's most assertive leader in a

generation.  The bolstered military budget was unveiled after Beijing staged unprecedented exercises around Taiwan in retaliation for US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit

to Taipei earlier this month.  Beijing lashes out at any diplomatic action that might lend Taiwan legitimacy and has responded with growing anger to visits by Western

officials and politicians.  For a week after Pelosi's visit, China sent warships, missiles and fighter jets into the waters and skies around Taiwan, its largest and most

aggressive exercises since the mid-1990s.