Govern­ment sees ‘bargain’ in first sub buy in 56 years

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD -

BANGKOK | Thai­land’s top de­fense of­fi­cial said the govern­ment has ap­proved the pur­chase of its first sub­ma­rine in more than half a cen­tury, call­ing the $393 mil­lion deal with China nec­es­sary and a bargain.

De­fense Min­is­ter Prawit Wong­suwan said Tues­day that the navy’s pur­chase of a Yuan Class S26T sub­ma­rine would be con­ducted trans­par­ently, re­spond­ing to concerns about cor­rup­tion. He said the ves­sel would be de­liv­ered in five to six years.

Thai­land’s navy has been seek­ing to buy sub­marines for al­most a decade, hav­ing de­com­mis­sioned its last one in 1951. The mil­i­tary govern­ment had said it also con­sid­ered buy­ing the ves­sels from Ger­many or South Korea, but last year an­nounced plans to buy three from China at a to­tal price of around $1 bil­lion.

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