TAIPEI, Taiwan --- Taiwan’s major shipbuilder has broken ground on a factory aimed at producing submarines to blunt threats from China while easing dependence on politically sensitive arms sales from the West.
Shipbuilder CSBC Corp. Taiwan will work with the Taiwanese navy to initially develop a $3.3-billion submarine at the factory in the southern port city Kaohsiung, scheduled to be completed next year after last week’s groundbreaking. A prototype of the diesel-electric submarine, a first for Taiwan, is due as early as 2024.
Taiwan’s aging fleet of four submarines, two from the United States and two from the Netherlands, cannot keep up with the military modernization of China, only 100 miles away across a narrow strait.
“The submarines will not only enhance the navy’s asymmetric fighting ability, but to deploy them in waters to our island’s southwest and northeast can make us more effective in deterring enemy ships from surrounding Taiwan,” President Tsai Ing-wen said Thursday at the groundbreaking ceremony.
“To produce our own is the only route to take,” she said. (end of excerpt)
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