Daily Memo: Taiwanese Defense Spending, French Deployments to the Mediterranean

The self-ruled island is working on boosting its defenses.

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Taiwanese defense. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s Cabinet on Thursday proposed a more than 10 percent increase in defense spending. According to Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the U.S., discussions with Washington are ongoing to earmark at least part of the $15.4 billion proposed budget to U.S. sea mines and cruise missiles, which Taiwan could need to deter a Chinese amphibious landing. The announcement came as the People’s Liberation Army was conducting live-fire combat drills in areas both north and south of Taiwan. It also comes on the heels of a historic visit by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who was the senior-most U.S. official to visit the self-ruled island in decades. Sending Azar, in particular, as a show of U.S. support for Taiwan made sense, as the world could learn a thing or two about Taiwan’s superb management of the coronavirus outbreak, despite the fact that it has continued to be frozen out of international bodies like the World Health Organization by Beijing. But Azar was also reportedly tasked with broaching the subject of inking a trade deal with Taipei, which is eager to get talks started. The State Department and Pentagon are also reportedly both pushing […]

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