Taiwan maintains a large military establishment, which will account for 15.5% of the central budget in FY 2001. The military's foremost mission is the defense of Taiwan, a defense primarily against the P.R.C., which is seen as the predominant threat and which has not renounced the use of force against Taiwan. Taiwan's armed forces number approximately 430,000, and reserves reportedly total 3,870,000. Taiwan has implemented a force reduction program to scale down its military to a level of 400,000 by FY 2001. Conscription remains universal for qualified males reaching age 18.
Taiwan's armed forces are equipped with weapons obtained primarily from the United States. In recent years, however, Taiwan also has procured procured submarines from the Netherlands and fighter jets from France and has stressed military "self-reliance," which has resulted in the growth of indigenous military production in certain fields. Taiwan's efforts at arms purchases have consistently been blocked by P.R.C..
Taiwan adheres to the principles of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has stated that it does not intend to produce nuclear weapons. It had a small nuclear weapons program in the 1970's but this was shut down after strong pressure from the United States.
Military branches: Army, Navy (includes Marines), Air Force, Coastal Patrol and Defense Command, Armed Forces Reserve Command, Combined Service Forces
Military manpower - military age: 19 years of age
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 6,554,373 (2000 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 5,017,643 (2000 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 201,413 (2000 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure: $8.042 billion (FY98/99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2.8% (FY98/99)