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Taiwan’s navy setting up
Local media said Monday, Taiwan’s navy will ask parliament to finance the purchase of up to eight new submarines within the next two months, reviving an acquisition that has been pending for over a decade.
The United Daily News reported, the navy is not necessarily going to buy US technology and is having three different countries in mind as potential suppliers.
In April 2001 then US president George W. Bush had approved the sale of eight conventional submarines as part of Washington’s largest arms package to the island since 1992.
However, not much has changed since then, as United States has not built conventional submarines for more than 40 years, and Germany and Spain are reported to have declined to offer their designs for fear of offending China.
But according to the United Daily News new options have emerged lately as three countries have allegedly offered either to help Taiwan build submarines or sell the island several German-built submarines. The newspaper did not name the three countries.
In a response to the report the Taiwan navy said, “Purchasing submarines from the United States has been given top priority in the past years and will remain so in the future. But if there are any other sources to provide submarines, they are also welcome.”
Taiwan’s navy disposes of a fleet of four submarines, but only two of them, both Dutch-built, could be deployed in the event of war. The other two were built by the United States in the 1940s.
Ties between Taipei and Beijing have substantially improved since Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang party came to power in 2008 promising to bring forward trade links and allow more Chinese tourists to visit the island.
Nevertheless. Beijing continues seeing the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, even though Taiwan has governed itself since 1949 at the end of a civil war.
China has repeatedly threatened to invade Taiwan should the island declare formal independence, causing Taipei’s effort to obtain more advanced weapons, largely from the United States.
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