Taiwan's own submarines on building blocks

World | ASSOCIATED PRESS 25 Nov 2020

Taiwan's president inaugurated the production of domestically made submarines in Kaohsiung - a step forward for the island's defense strategy at a time of elevated tensions with Beijing.

"This submarine is an important part of allowing our navy to develop asymmetric warfare and to intimidate and block enemy ships from surrounding Taiwan's main island,'' President Tsai Ing-wen said.

Tsai has made boosting Taiwan's indigenous defense capacity a central pillar of defense policy. Recently, she relaunched the military aviation industry.

Taiwan turned to the expensive and time-consuming task of building its own subs after Beijing prevented it from purchasing such craft from abroad through the use of economic and diplomatic threats.

Only a handful of countries are capable of manufacturing submarines, and Taiwan's turn that way has taken years.

The island's largest ship builder, CSBC, won a contract to design and build the subs in 2017 along with arms developer the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology.

Plans are to build eight submarines, with the first one to be ready by 2024.

The model has been in the design stage for four years and overcame all sorts of difficulties, CSBC chairman Cheng Wen-lon said.

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