Taiwan has kicked off the construction of its indigenous submarine with a ceremony in the southern port city of Kaohsiung on Nov. 24.
The ceremony was attended by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and Brent Christensen, Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the de facto embassy of the United States in Taiwan.
The construction of #Taiwan’s indigenous submarine has kicked off! Our resolution to defend our sovereignty and #democracy is shown in efforts for #selfreliantdefense like this, and we will keep doing our part to ensure a free and open #IndoPacific. pic.twitter.com/G6lcXVmu8G
— 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. 🇹🇼 (@MoNDefense) November 24, 2020
Tsai called the move a “historic milestone” for Taiwan’s defensive capabilities after overcoming “various challenges and doubts”.
“The construction demonstrates Taiwan’s strong will to the world to protect its sovereignty,” President said. “Submarines are important equipment for the development of Taiwan’s navy’s asymmetric warfare capabilities and to deter enemy ships from encircling Taiwan.”
The milestone came after the U.S. government, in 2018, gave the green light for U.S. manufacturers to participate in the programme, a move widely seen as helping Taiwan secure major components, though it is unclear which U.S. companies are involved.
According to the current plan, state-backed CSBC Corporation will eventually deliver eight submarines to the Taiwan’s Republic of China (ROC) Navy. The first prototype submarine is estimated to cost NT$49.36 billion (US$1.72 billion) and is scheduled to be completed in the third quarter of 2024, with sea trials slated for 2025.