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Taiwan's defense ministry pushes back on hard-hitting charges from former top US diplomat

Responding to a hard-hitting attack from a former top U.S. diplomat, Taiwan's defense ministry has blamed "political factors" and "budgetary considerations" for the island's lack of military readiness to deal with a possible Chinese attack.

The ministry also defended its credibility in weeding out Chinese spies in the security establishment.

Monday comments from the ministry followed unusually frank remarks on Taiwan's security situation from William Stanton, who finished a three-year term as head of the de facto American embassy in Taipei last August.

Speaking before the pro-independence World Taiwanese Congress on Friday, Stanton said declining Taiwanese defense spending has made the island vulnerable to a possible Chinese attack. He linked fading military morale to a spate of successful Chinese espionage penetrations of Taiwan's armed forces.