Ma re­it­er­ates push for lo­cal sub­ma­rine pro­gram

The China Post - - LOCAL -

Pres­i­dent Ma Ying- jeou on Tues­day re­it­er­ated Tai­wan’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to push ahead with its do­mes­tic sub­ma­rine pro­gram to mod­ern­ize its fleet and bol­ster the coun­try’s de­fense ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

“We aim to ac­quire new gen­er­a­tion sub­marines to safe­guard our coastal fron­tier,” Ma said at a cer­e­mony at which two mil­i­tary ves­sels — Tai­wan’s first home­grown stealth mis­sile corvette and a new sup­ply ship — were put into ser­vice.

“Sub­marines are the most sig­nif­i­cant weapon for a coun­try in build­ing naval de­fense ca­pa­bil­i­ties. The mil­i­tary ab­so­lutely needs to ac­quire ( new) sub­marines,” he said.

Re­it­er­at­ing Tai­wan’s ef­fort to de­velop its own home-grown sub­ma­rine pro­gram, Ma said “we have the de­ter­mi­na­tion and we are def­i­nitely con­fi­dent that we will achieve the goal of build­ing sub­marines lo­cally.”

Tues­day’s cer­e­mony was held at the Navy’s Zuoy­ing base in Kaoh­si­ung, the largest naval base in Tai­wan.

In ad­di­tion to the two new ships — the Tuo Jiang ( ) and Pan Shi ( ) — other home grown mil­i­tary boats and ves­sels used by Tai­wan’s Coast Guard were docked at the naval base to show­case the coun­try’s ship­build­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Point­ing to an empty space in the har­bor, Ma said “that area is be­ing saved for the coun­try’s lo­cally made sub­marines in the fu­ture.”

Fac­ing chal­lenges to pro­cure sub­marines and other mil­i­tary hard­ware from abroad be­cause of China’s ob­jec­tions, Tai­wan has taken the ini­tia­tive to build mil­i­tary ves­sels on its own, which the pres­i­dent said has helped up­grade the coun­try’s do­mes­tic ship­build- ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties and also cre­ated job op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Over the past seven years, the gov­ern­ment has put NT$56 bil­lion (US$1.789 bil­lion) into build­ing all kinds of ves­sels, he said.

To build new sub­marines to re­place Tai­wan’s aging ves­sels, it is be­lieved Tai­wan would need as­sis­tance on de­sign and tech­nol­ogy from over­seas.

Mean­while, the pres­i­dent re­it­er­ated the Navy’s ef­forts to pro­tect the coun­try, and he said it will also con­tinue to work with the Coast Guard to en­sure the safety of Tai­wanese fish­er­men op­er­at­ing in the Tai­wan Strait, the East China Sea, the South China Sea and the Pa­cific Ocean.

CNA

Pres­i­dent Ma Ying-jeou ( ) pre­sides over a cer­e­mony at Tsoy­ing Naval Base in Kaoh­si­ung, putting two mil­i­tary ves­sels — the Pan Shi ( ) and Tuo Jiang ( ) — into ser­vice, yes­ter­day.

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