Sun, Apr 08, 2018 - Page 1 News List

US approves submarine license

ASSURED:The US has granted the permissions required for the sale of US technology needed to develop indigenous submarines, but other obstacles have yet to be overcome

By William Hetherington  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Crew members of the 2,660-tonne submarine Hai Lung stand to attention in an undated photograph.

Photo Courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense

The US Department of State has approved a marketing license needed for US manufacturers to sell technology to Taiwan that would enable the nation to build domestic submarines, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.

Ministry spokesman Major General Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) said in an interview that the ministry has received reports that the state department has agreed to grant the marketing license required for the sale of technology that Taiwan needs to develop indigenous submarines.

Presidential Office spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) confirmed the report, saying that the State Department notified Taiwan’s representative office in the US that it would provide the license.

This decision would not only help upgrade Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities, but would also benefit regional safety and security, Lin said.

The Presidential Office and the ministry thanked the US for its commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act and the “six assurances.”

“As a result, Taiwan will become more militarily self-sufficient,” the ministry said.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ding-yu (王定宇), who sits on the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, also thanked the State Department for “making a righteous decision” and supporting Taiwan, “a nation with democratic values the same as those of the US.”

Wang said he hopes that remaining talks go smoothly, adding that he is very optimistic about the nation’s indigenous submarine-building program following a visit to a shipyard last week.

“The nation’s defense program most needs to improve its underwater combat capabilities, which it should have done 10 years ago,” he said. “The nation’s development of submarines is already 20 years behind schedule, but better late than never.”

“The announcement from the US is the first step. Whether we are talking about components, systems or other technology, US manufacturers would still need to obtain export permits,” Wang said. “Nevertheless, this act from the US Department of State is a great start.”

The friendliness shown toward Taiwan by both the US Senate and House of Representatives is historically the best it has ever been, he said.

The US is taking care of the combat systems the nation’s submarines would use, and if export permission for those systems is granted, the nation’s submarine program would be ready for action, he said.

Once basic blueprints for the submarines are complete, schematics can be worked out, Wang said, adding that export permission for the components would take about one year to acquire.

After components are received, production and assembly can begin, he said, adding that work should be completed according to schedule and the quality and combat-effectiveness of the finished submarines is expected to be excellent.

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