Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) yesterday confirmed plans to bring forward the nation’s construction of 11 Tuo Jiang-class corvettes by completing them in two instead of three phases.
Yen made the comments at a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in response to Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lo Chih-cheng’s (羅致政) question about whether the military is making adjustments to counter the Chinese threat.
The corvette is a crucial piece of the military’s asymmetric warfare and shortening its construction schedule would increase the nation’s combat capability, Yen said.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times
The ministry purchased 12 corvettes in total, with the first ship delivered in 2014, it said.
The other 11 corvettes are to come in two types: The first three anti-aircraft models are to be completed by 2025, while five anti-ship models, which were originally scheduled to be completed between 2030 and 2032, are to be brought forward to 2025, the ministry said.
The completion of the third batch, originally planned for 2039, could be moved forward as the need arises, it said.
The armaments of the third batch, whilst unknown, could include the extended range versions of the Hsiung Feng II (HF-II) anti-ship missiles and the HF-III missiles, which offer more effective deterrence against enemy vessels, the ministry said.
With a displacement of 700 tonnes, the anti-air variants are to be armed with ship-launched Tien Chien II missiles, while the anti-ship variant are to carry HF-II anti-ship missiles and HF-III supersonic anti-ship missiles, the ministry said.
The ministry has opted to contract the construction of the surface platforms via an open bid, but would commission the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology to design and install the combat systems onboard, the ministry said.
The commission agreement and the public bid are to begin next month and should be completed by October, it said.
Navy Command Headquarters Chief of Staff of the Navy Vice Admiral Lee Tsung-hsiao (李宗孝) told lawmakers he is confident that the open bid would conclude successfully and that construction could begin next year.
Construction of the second batch will not necessarily have to wait for the completion of the first batch, Lee said, adding that it could begin as soon as next year or in 2020.
Yen also told the committee that the national defense budget would surely increase more than 2 percent for fiscal 2019.
The ministry will comply with President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) instructions on increasing the national defense budget as a percentage of GDP by no less than 2 percent of the previous year’s budget, the ministry’s Comptroller Bureau Director Chen Kuo-sheng (陳國勝) said.
KEEP AWAY: People should wear a mask in places where they cannot follow social distancing rules, the CECC said, adding that it would publish detailed guidelines today The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 16 new cases of COVID-19, including two domestic cases, as it urged people to practice social distancing in public spaces by keeping a distance of at least 1m when outdoors and 1.5m indoors. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that seven of the new cases tested positive upon their arrival at the airport, four were under home quarantine, one was under home isolation and two were under self-health management, while the two domestic cases sought treatment on their own. The domestic cases are a man in his
Taiwan will negotiate with the WHO about its participation without Beijing’s help and intervention as more countries, including Australia and Japan, are partnering with Taiwan to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephonic roundtable with reporters on Monday also supported Taiwan’s role in the WHO, saying the US Department of State would do its best to assist Taiwan’s “appropriate role” in the world’s highest health policy setting body, Voice of America reported. In a Japan Business Press report published on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou (孔鉉佑) said
‘HEROIC’: A lack of personal protective equipment has led to high infection rates among health workers in places like Spain and Italy, a nurses’ association said More equipment is needed to protect the world’s nurses working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic to save lives, the head of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) said. “They are heroic. I think there is no other way to describe what they are doing at this moment,” said Howard Catton, a British nurse who is the council’s CEO. Infection rates of 9 percent and 12 to 14 percent have been reported among health workers in Italy and Spain respectively, he said, adding that nurses have died in the two nations, as well as Iran and Indonesia. “We have no doubt
Japan’s ruling party yesterday proposed the nation’s biggest-ever stimulus package of ￥60 trillion (US$554 billion) as the COVID-19 pandemic locks the economy in a recession. The sum includes ￥20 trillion in fiscal measures with private initiatives and other elements likely making up the rest, the proposal by the Liberal Democratic Party showed. More than ￥10 trillion, or the equivalent of a 5 percentage point cut in the sales tax rate, would be handed out to the public in a combination of cash, subsidies and coupons, the plan showed. The proposal puts an initial figure on a stimulus package that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo