Taiwan presents its first self-made submarine

Taiwan presents its first self-made submarine

Taiwan presented its first locally made submarine on Thursday, as the island seeks to strengthen its defense against military power China, which dismissed the announcement as “nonsense.”

Taiwan presented its first locally manufactured submarine on Thursday, as the island seeks to strengthen its defense against military power China, which dismissed the announcement as “nonsense.”

President Tsai Ing-wen, who has refused to accept Beijing’s authority over the island, launched the submarine program in 2016 with a view to building a fleet of eight submersibles.

The first prototype, called “Hai Kun” in Chinese, meaning “mythical sea creature,” was unveiled Thursday at a ceremony in the southern port city of Kaohsiung.

History will remember this day forever,” declared Tsai in front of the ship covered in the colors of the Taiwanese flag.

“In the past, building submarines locally was considered a mission impossible. But today, a submarine designed and built by our own people is ahead of everyone. We did it,” he said.

China considers Taiwan part of its territory and has intensified military and political pressure against the island, with air raids around the island and its diplomatic isolation.

In response, Taiwan increased its defense budget, reaching $19 billion by 2024, to purchase military equipment, especially from its ally the United States.

For its part, the Chinese Ministry of Defense called the Taiwanese strategy of protecting itself with locally manufactured submarines “nonsense.”

“No matter how many weapons the DPP (Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party) authorities build or buy, they will not be able to stop the general trend towards national reunification,” said ministerial spokesman Wu Qian, when asked about the submarines.

Cheng Wen-lon, president of submarine maker CSBC Corp, said the seven-year construction process had his team working non-stop.

He called the submarine a “magic weapon in an asymmetric war.”

Hai Kun is 80 meters long, weighs 2,500 to 3,000 tons and has combat systems and torpedoes from the American company Lockheed Martin.

The device will undergo testing before being operational by 2025, according to Tsai.

The Taiwanese navy currently has two operational Swordfish-type submarines, acquired from the Netherlands in the 1980s.