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U.S. scholar says Taiwan can go with indigenous submarine program

U.S. scholar says Taiwan can go with indigenous submarine program

Williamsburg, Virginia, Oct. 7 (CNA) A U.S. scholar told reporters Tuesday outside the U.S.-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference in Williamsburg that Taiwan is capable of opting for an indigenous submarine program to replace its aging fleet of foreign-sourced submarines. For Taiwan, foreign military purchases are the least complicated option, but that approach is complicated politically for the United States, said military scholar Mark Stokes, executive director of the Project 2049 Institute, a think tank based in Virginia. "But both paths are viable," Stokes said at a press conference on the sidelines of the last day of the annual conference. He added that he believes Taiwan is prepared for and capable of "going the indigenous route." In 2001, then-U.S. President George W. Bush agreed to help Taiwan acquire eight diesel-electric submarines and the U.S. made a first-phase plan for a submarine design for Taiwan, but it has since been frozen in the State Department, he explained. Stokes said that if the current U.S. administration maintains the policy of assisting Taiwan in acquiring the submarines, he believes Taiwan will have a new submarine in operation "by at least 2021." Whether Taiwan is capable of building submarines on its own, how it will proceed with indigenous submarine programs, and how U.S. defense companies will be able to play a part were of great interest for participants in the conference, attendees said. The conference, now in its 13th year, presented a good opportunity to reaffirm Washington's commitment to the security of Taiwan and support for U.S. companies involved in enhancing that security, said officials at the U.S. Department of State who preferred to be anonymous. The annual defense conference ran Oct. 5-7 to discuss U.S.-Taiwan defense and military cooperation and future defense and national security needs, said the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, the organizer of the event. Although Taiwan is planning to build indigenous submarines, it has not given up on foreign sales of submarines, according to Taiwan's Defense Ministry, which has been seeking U.S. assistance such as technology transfer in that regard. (By Tony Liao and Elaine Hou)


Updated : 2021-04-14 01:02 GMT+08:00