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Taiwan launches its first domestically built submarine

Sep 29, 2023

Taipei [Taiwan], September 29: Taiwan launched its first domestically built submarine on Thursday. President Tsai Ing-wen said building submarines domestically was an important combat force to protect Taiwan's borders.
"Today will be remembered in the history... we did it," Tsai said at the launch ceremony in southern Kaohsiung City, adding that it was once regarded as an impossible task for Taiwan to build its own submarines.
"Building submarines domestically is not only a goal but also a concrete practice to firmly protect our country," Tsai said. Tsai said that, in 2025, the new submarine will join two submarines purchased from the Netherlands in the 1980s. "Taiwan then will have three submarines with full combat capabilities in service," she said.
Sandra Oudkirk, the director of the American Institute in Taiwan, which serves as Washington's de facto embassy, attended the ceremony.
Trade representatives from South Korea and Japan, who are based in Taiwan, were also there. The new submarine, named Hai Kun in Mandarin, or Narwhal, will undergo a harbour acceptance test from Sunday, before testing at sea. It is due to be delivered to the Navy by the end of 2024. Taiwan's Naval Command said on Thursday that building submarines domestically was an important policy for Taiwan's national defence independence.
Through cooperation with shipbuilder CSBC Corporation, the navy demonstrates a resilience and determination to defend Taiwan to the world, the command said. According to Huang Shu-kuang, convener of Taiwan's Indigenous Defence Submarine (IDS) programme, Taiwan's goal is to let the first new domestically built submarine join the fleet in 2025 and a second one in 2027, to boost combat capability, state-run Central News Agency reported.
Huang estimated that a fleet of 10 submarines operated by Taiwan would make it harder for the Chinese navy to extend its power to the Pacific.
According to Taiwan's national defence report released early this month, the navy of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) aims to gain control over strategic positions in the Pacific by 2035.
Wu Qian, spokesman for the Chinese Defence Ministry, said on Thursday that preventing the PLA from entering the Pacific is nonsense.
Source: Qatar Tribune