Taiwan expanding submarine fleet as China threat grows | Inquirer News
Close  

Taiwan expanding submarine fleet as China threat grows

/ 04:45 PM November 24, 2020

TAIPEI — Taiwan began construction on a fleet of indigenous submarines on Tuesday, the latest move by the out-gunned island to bolster its defenses against increasingly bellicose threats from Beijing.

Democratic Taiwan lives under the constant threat of invasion by communist China, which views the self-ruled island as part of its territory and has vowed to one day seize it, by force if necessary.

ADVERTISEMENT

Taiwan expanding submarine fleet as China threat grows

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen attends a ceremony about the production of domestic-made submarines at a CSBC shipyard in Kaohsiung on November 24, 2020. (Photo by Sam Yeh / AFP)

Beijing has piled on military, economic, and diplomatic pressure since the election of President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016, in part due to her refusal to acknowledge its stance that the island is part of “one China.”

“We are letting the world see Taiwan’s strong will to defend its sovereignty,” Tsai said at a ceremony marking the start of construction in a shipyard in southern Kaohsiung city.

FEATURED STORIES

The long-mooted project aims to deliver eight new submarines, with the first expected by 2025 according to officials.

Taiwan’s navy currently has four submarines, including two built by the United States in the 1940s.

In recent decades Taiwan has had to ramp up its own defense industry as China pressures other countries against selling its major weapon platforms.

It has made significant progress on missiles and built its own fighter jet, but its military might is dwarfed by China’s People’s Liberation Army.

Washington initially approved an offer back in 2001 to supply eight conventional submarines, but the sale never came to fruition.

Over the same period, China has built itself one of the world’s largest navies, with nuclear-powered submarines, aircraft carriers, and latest-generation hypersonic missiles within its arsenal.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has adopted the most openly hostile stance towards Taiwan since Mao Zedong.

ADVERTISEMENT

Chinese jets have neared Taiwan’s air defense zones at an unprecedented rate this year, forcing Taipei to repeatedly scramble its own aging fleet.

But the wariness of major arms manufacturing powers to sell to Taiwan may be fading.

Outgoing US President Donald Trump was far more willing to sign off on advanced weapon systems to Taiwan, approving some $18 billion worth of sales, including new-generation fighter jets.

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: China, Military, Politics, submarine, Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, Xi Jinping
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2021 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.