Thu, Oct 09, 2014 - Page 1 News List

US experts voice confidence over Taiwan sub fleet

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in WASHINGTON

Asked if Chinese objections might sink the submarine program, Hammond-Chambers said that a study showed that China-Taiwan relations invariably improved after a major arms sale and that China’s bark “is always worse than its bite.”

Stokes said that US government involvement in arms sales to Taiwan was “most difficult” for Beijing to accept because “arms sales are the most visible manifestation of Taiwan’s sovereign status.”

He said that if Taiwan was really just a province of China, the US would not be selling it arms.

“As long as the US maintains a definite commitment ... we should see an operational sub in the water by 2021,” he said.

He said that if it becomes necessary, Taiwan is “fully capable” of going the indigenous route.

“It is not a question of can Taiwan make submarines, it is only a question of how sophisticated a submarine Taiwan’s industry can develop,” Stokes said. “Colombian drug runners make submarines. The innovative capacity of Taiwan society is grossly underestimated. It’s one of the best in the world. The Republic of China Navy has been able to maintain a submarine that was manufactured in 1943. That is not easy. It is an amazing feat.”

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