TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said that Taiwan's development of domestically made submarines will bring in the new age of Taiwan's Navy, during a speech unveiling a new monument at Navy Command Headquarters in Zhongshan District, Taipei on August 6.
Tsai said that Taiwan is breaking through bottlenecks associated with the development of the "Indigenous Defense Submarine" (IDS) program, which is expected to begin construction before 2020.
Tsai unveiled a new monument at Navy Command Headquarters today with Minister of National Defense, Yen Teh-fa (嚴德發), Chief of the General Staff of the armed forces, Lee Hsi-ming (嚴德發) and Commander of the Navy, Huang Shu-kuang (嚴德發).
Buying submarines from foreign partners is problematic for Taiwan, so the island nation has begun the process of domestic production of submarines, after the U.S. State Department approved transfer of technology earlier this year. In July 2018, it was reported that six international companies had submitted designs for the new vessel.
Tsai said that Taiwan's submarine program will not just strengthen Taiwan's underwater capability, but will also help to strengthen the military more broadly and showcase Taiwan's determination and confidence.
The submarine is breaking through developmental bottlenecks, through cross-border cooperation and academic collaboration, Tsai added.
Tsai said that due to changes in the international and regional environment, Taiwan will be increasing its national defense budget for 2019 by NT$18.3 billion (US$592 million), totaling 2.16 percent of GDP. Next year, 21.3 percent of the national defense budget will be used on Taiwan's "national defense independence" plan.
During her speech, Tsai said that Taiwan is a maritime country and that sea power is the lifeblood of Taiwan. She also reaffirmed her commitment to the Navy, saying “I will be in the same boat with you. In the future, we will ride the wind and waves together.”