On Thursday, the president of Taiwan unveiled the nation’s first homegrown submarine for testing at a port in Kaohsiung. If the submarine passes its tests, Taiwan will make significant advancements in shipbuilding and design.
At the launch event, President Tsai Ing-wen said, “In the past, a domestically made submarine was thought to be impossible, but today a submarine designed and built by our countrymen is in front of you.”
“Constructing a submarine is the tangible fulfillment of our decision to defend our nation. For the Taiwanese navy to create asymmetric fighting strength in terms of strategy and tactics, submarines are a crucial piece of equipment, according to her.
Taiwan has been under pressure from the United States to develop asymmetric warfare methods by investing in more lightweight and compact weapons, such as the reduced-size submarine. The process was “torturous,” according to Cheng Wen-lon, president of Taiwan’s CSBC Corp., which oversaw the submarine’s development.
He added during the event held in the shipyard of CSBC, “Although we have worked quietly over the last many years, it doesn’t imply the process was very smooth.
The prototype, which took seven years to design and build, will start testing in the harbor before moving out to sea.
The name Hai Kun refers to a legendary fish with the same name in Chinese mythology. It won’t be given to the military until it has successfully completed its harbor and ocean-going testing. According to the semi-official Central News Agency,
Taiwan intends to construct a second submarine if the first one is successful, with both being deployed by 2027.
Taiwan started the costly and time-consuming process of developing its own submarines when Beijing forbade it from doing so by using economic and diplomatic pressure.
China has increased its military drills directed towards the island in recent years, deploying fighter planes and naval ships to patrol and conduct maneuvers in the skies and seas close to Taiwan.
The development of the submarine, according to China’s Defense Ministry, was Taiwan “heading down the path of its own destruction.”
According to Col. Wu Qian, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defense, “no matter how many weapons the Democratic Progressive Party buys, it will not obstruct the greater trend of reunification with the motherland.”
He described the recent live-fire drills conducted by the Chinese military close to Taiwan as standard operations that are a part of their yearly schedule. At a monthly news conference, Wu explained that they assessed troop effectiveness and joint-operation skills using various weapons and among various branches.
The leaders of the U.S. de facto embassy, Sandra Oudkirk, as well as the Japanese and South Korean trade delegations headquartered in Taiwan, attended the ceremony.