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SPECIAL BUDGET FOR MILITARY PROCUREMENT UNDER CABINET'S DISCUSSION

2004-05-26 23:04:22

    Taipei, May 26 (CNA) Minister of National Defense Lee Chieh said Wednesday that his ministry had submitted a NT$670 billion (US$20 billion) special budget plan for the procurement of three badly needed weaponry systems May 21 to the Executive Yuan for discussion.

    Fielding questions at a meeting of the National Defense Committee under the Legislative Yuan, Lee said that the special budget plan is very pressing for the Ministry of National Defense and voiced the hope that the plan could be presented to the legislature for approval during its current session.

    Lee, who took up his current post May 20, pointed out that the special budget will be used to procure Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile batteries, P3C Orion anti-submarine aircraft and conventional submarines.

    The United States has agreed to sell eight diesel-powered submarines to Taiwan, and many lawmakers have been pushing the government to lobby the U.S. authorities to commission the state-run Chinese Shipbuilding Corp. (CSBC) to build some of the submarines, which the United States can no longer construct.

    But Lee disclosed at the meeting that if some of the submarines are to be build by the CSBC, the budget will have to be increased by NT$80 billion.

    During his query, Legislator Lin Yu-fang of the opposition People First Party, reminded the MND that the legislature had adopted a resolution on promoting the domestic construction of warships, saying that the MND has the obligation to abide by the resolution.

    Meanwhile, Lee also disclosed that the flying object discovered by the Air Force on May 21 was a U.S. aerial tanker KC-135 that flew over the route for civilian planes. He added that the MND had informed the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) about the issue through normal procedures.

(By Luis Huang)

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