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2004-06-23 18:25:47

    Taipei, June 23 (CNA) A new quotation by the United States for eight submarines on Taiwan's military procurement list might lead to delays in delivery of the vessels, Huang Hui-sheng, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense (MND), said Wednesday.

    Huang's comment came after a media report that quoted Legislative Yuan President Wang Jin-pyng as asking the United States offer a new quotation for the eight diesel-fueled submarines that are to cost Taiwan NT$400 billion.

    Although Huang said that the MND will abide by any resolutions approved by the Legislative Yuan, he claimed that a new price quotation is likely to postpone U.S. deliveries of the submarines by over six months at a time when the Taiwan authorities are hoping to take delivery of the ships five years sooner than originally quoted.

    According to MND officials, the existing quotation by the United States is merely a rough estimate that does not take into consideration the model of the submarines. The United States may still offer the same price even if it quotes again, they pointed out, adding that this would be an unnecessary waste of time.

    The eight conventional submarines form the most disputed segment of the major military procurement plan submitted by the MND for legislative approval with a value of NT$610.8 billion (US$18.2 billion) that also includes budget appropriations for 12 anti-submarine aircraft and six batteries of Patriot PAC-3 missiles.

    The huge budget allocation has stirred up grave concern among the public and some legislators.

    Wang, who is currently visiting the United States at the head of a legislative delegation, made the remarks Tuesday in Washington after being briefed by U.S. officials on the submarine deal.

    Wang asked the U.S. side to offer a cheaper price for the eight submarines and bring forward the delivery date by five years.

(By Flor Wang)


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