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Taiwan unveils first domestically-made submarine

IANS | September 28, 2023 11:01 AM

TAIPEI: In an effort to bolster its defences against a possible Chinese attack, Taiwan on Thursday unveiled ts first domestically-made submarine which will be delivered to the navy by the end of 2024.

The $1.54 billion diesel-electric powered submarine named 'Haikun' -- a mythical massive fish that can also fly which appears in classic Chinese literature -- was launched during a ceremony presided over by President Tsai Ing-wen in the port city of Kaohsiung, reports the BBC.

According to military officials, the submarine will now undergo several tests, while another one is currently in production.

The Haikun uses a combat system by American defence company Lockheed Martin and will carry US-made missiles.

Taiwan aims to eventually operate a fleet of 10 submarines -- including two older Dutch-made boats -- and equip them with missiles, the BBC reported.

Admiral Huang Shu-kuang, head of Taiwan's domestic submarine programme, told reporters last week that the goal of designing and building its own submarine was to fend off any attempt from China to encircle Taiwan for an invasion or impose a naval blockade.

He also said that it would also buy time until US and Japan forces arrive to aid Taiwan's defence.

Adm Huang further said that he had personally approached military contacts in the US, Japan, South Korea and India for help but did not specify which country eventually agreed.

The submarine's launch came a day after China confirmed it had been conducting military drills this month to "resolutely combat the arrogance of Taiwan independence separatist forces".

In recent weeks, China has ramped up its warship presence in the Taiwan Strait and military jet incursions into airspace around the island, the BBC reported.

US military and intelligence officials have given varying timelines for a possible Chinese invasion.

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