Taiwan will build its own submarines, President Tsai Ing-wen pledged on Tuesday, as the self-ruled island looks to fresh arms sales by the United States, accompanied by key submarine technology, to counter a growing military threat from China.
China has never renounced the use of force to take back what it deems a wayward province, and Taiwan's defense ministry says China has more than 1,000 missiles directed at the island.
"Strengthening underwater combat capabilities is most needed in Taiwan's defense," Tsai said during a tour of a submarine at the southern naval port of Zuoying, about 350 kilometers (218 miles) from the capital, Taipei.
"This is a problem everyone recognizes," she added. "We have been unable to solve this in the past. As commander of the armed forces, I am determined to solve this problem."
But the rare appearance of two of Taiwan's four submarines at the event also spotlighted the island's slow, sometimes stalled efforts, to upgrade key defense equipment.
The black-hulled vessel half-submerged in the water that Tsai visited has been in service for nearly half a century. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Reuters website.