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Taiwan reiterates dual approach to acquiring submarines

ROC Central News Agency

2015/12/02 16:42:32

Washington, Dec. 1 (CNA) The head of Taiwan's defense mission in the United States said Tuesday that the country's two-pronged approach to acquiring new submarines remains unchanged and that the U.S. defense industry is interested in Taiwan's local submarine program.

Taiwan's policy has not changed, which means it will continue its efforts to develop its own submarine program while seeking foreign military sales, Rear Adm. Yang Ta-wei (楊大偉) said at a forum hosted by U.S. think tank Project 2049 Institute.

If foreign military sales become impossible, Taiwan will be able to build its own submarines, Yang said at the forum, which was focused on Taiwan's efforts to acquire submarines.

Taiwan has invited U.S. defense companies to join its efforts to develop its own diesel-electric submarine program, which would build a cooperative relationship and create a win-win situation, he said.

'They're very interested and we've had many responses,' he said in answer to a question on the response of U.S. defense companies.

Meanwhile, Mark Stokes, executive director of the Project 2049 Institute, said at the forum that Taiwan can build submarines and is looking to do so.

However, the question is how sophisticated those submarines will be, he said.

Randall Schriver, president and chief executive officer of the Project 2049 Institute, said there is still time for the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama to do something about the issue of supplying submarines to Taiwan.

Schriver said that if the current administration fails to address the issue, he hopes the next administration will take it up.

Commenting on a recent article by Bloomberg View columnist Josh Rogin that said the U.S. government is close to announcing a US$1 billion arms deal with Taiwan, Schriver said 'it's overdue' and he thinks the U.S. government should make the announcement either before or after Taiwan's presidential election in January.

The U.S. arms package, the first to Taiwan in more than four years, is likely to be announced formally in the second half of December, following a climate change conference in Paris, Rogin said in the article, citing unnamed officials.

In 2001, then-U.S. President George W. Bush moved to help Taiwan acquire eight diesel-electric submarines but there has been little progress since then, which has prompted Taiwan to seek its own solution.

Taiwan has said many times that it is in dire need of submarines to replace its aging fleet to bolster its defense capabilities.

(By Tony Liao and Elaine Hou)

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