TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) stated on Thursday that the two newly commissioned frigates are a message to the international community that Taiwanese people will defend their country and protect freedom and democracy without yielding to foreign aggression.
The two Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, respectively PFG-1112 Ming Chuan (formerly known as the FFG-50 Taylor) and PFG-1115 Feng Chia (ex-FFG-51 Gary), officially went into service on Thursday after two and a half year of modifications, transfer tasks, and personnel training.
“Taiwanese people are once again sending a clear and determined message to the world and international community. That is, we will defend the Republic of China Taiwan and safeguard our lifestyle based on freedom and democracy. We will make no concession,” said the President at the Zuoying Naval Base in Kaohsiung.
The two frigates were acquired from the United States after former U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law in December 2014 the Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2013, authorizing the sale and transfer of the two frigates to Taiwan.
Referring to the growing military activities across the region perpetrated by China’s People’s Liberation Army as attempts to belittle Taiwan’s sovereignty and to threaten regional stability, President Tsai urged the military not to forget the responsibility to defend Taiwan, not to give up the pursuit of a stable and peaceful region, and not to forget the threats beyond the borders.
Apart from traditional military threats, the president also criticized Beijing for utilizing technology, internet, and new media to try to infiltrate or influence Taiwanese society with disinformation and hacking, causing harm to both the government and industries.
“These maneuvers are grave challenges to national security and tasks to be tackled by the government and military,” said the president.
According to the Navy Command, the military spent approximately NT$5.5 billion (US$177 million) to acquire the two frigates. They are equipped with more advanced systems than the current Cheng Kung-class frigates, based on the Perry-class frigate, and domestically built by Taiwan’s shipbuilding company CSBC Corporation.
“Strengthening our own capability is the only way for us to ensure national security,” said President Tsai, adding that her government will support the military at all cost.