The Taiwan navy's plan to acquire eight conventional submarines from the US, a deal guaranteed by US President George W. Bush, could founder because of budget problems, Jane's Defence Weekly reported. \n"The desire of Taiwan for a fleet of eight diesel-electric submarines could be more than a decade away after Taiwanese navy officials told their US counterparts that funding is three years away," the weekly said. \nThe US has not built conventional submarines for more than 40 years and designing an entirely new one would be prohibitively expensive without foreign participation, Jane's said. \nIt had been hoped that the first submarines could join the Taiwanese navy in 2010 at the earliest. \nBut a US naval official told the weekly that if money is not available until fiscal year 2006, the process of tendering and selection would push the program to a 2013 to 2014 delivery date. \nThe US navy would also be looking for US$300 million to US$350 million up front to start the program, but Taiwanese legislators may baulk at the amount without knowing what kind of submarine they are receiving, the weekly said. \n"US naval officials note that until Taiwan provides the US with formal assurances that sufficient funds for the multi-billion-dollar deal have been secured, any US military program to design the boats will be left in limbo," the weekly says. \nBush in April 2001 approved the sale of eight conventional submarines to Taiwan as part of Washington's most comprehensive arms package to the nation since 1992. \nIn related news, the first batch of AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM) that the US agreed in 2000 to sell to Taiwan is scheduled to be delivered in the near future, military sources told reporters yesterday. \nThe US government has recently agreed to allow the Taiwan order -- some 200 AIM-120 missiles -- to be delivered in a bid to beef up Taiwan's defensive capabilities in the face of heightening military threats from across the Taiwan Strait, the sources said. \nIf everything goes smoothly, the Taiwan Air Force is expected to receive the long-awaited US-made AIM-120 missiles in one to two months as shipping, transportation and related affairs are already being arranged, the sources said. \nThe AIM-120 missiles are expected to be installed on F-16 jet fighters -- which form the backbone of the Taiwan air force -- once they are delivered and test fired, which is scheduled to begin early next year, the sources said. \nTaiwan Air Force fighter pilots have been in the US for training, which includes flying practice and firing AIM-120 missiles at various targets. \nThe AIM-120 AMRAAM is a new generation air-to-air missile. \nThe guided missile has an all-weather, beyond-visual-range capability and active radio frequency target detection. \nA follow-up to the AIM-7 Sparrow missile series, the AMRAAM is compatible with the US F-15, F-16 and developmental F-22, as well as the German F-4 and the British Sea Harrier aircraft. \nThe missile is faster, smaller and lighter and has improved capabilities against low-altitude targets. \nIt incorporates an active radar with an inertial reference unit and micro-computer system. \nOnce the missile closes in on a target, its active radar guides it to intercept, according to the military sources.
‘CORNERED ENEMY’: China’s rise is threatening peace and stability, and the US would aim to restrict it with help from allies in the Asia-Pacific, Soong Hseik-wen said A draft bill on protecting Taiwan from invasion is likely to be passed by the US Congress, but it remains to be seen how US President Joe Biden’s administration would implement the act if it is passed, Taiwanese academics said on Sunday. US Senator Rick Scott and US Representative Guy Reschenthaler on Thursday reintroduced the proposed Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act, which was shelved in September last year due to the impending US presidential election. Arthur Ding (丁樹範), a professor at National Chengchi University’s College of International Affairs, and Soong Hseik-wen (宋學文), a professor at National Chung Cheng University’s Graduate Institute
OVERHAUL NEEDED: The government should improve its agricultural processing capabilities and expand to new markets to limit its reliance on China, an expert said China’s ban on Taiwanese pineapples was “unsurprising,” and Taiwan should have years ago altered its produce export strategies and target customers, experts said. China on Friday abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from Taiwan, saying that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful biological entities” on the fruit. Calling it an “unfriendly” move, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said that 99.79 percent of the pineapples sent to China since last year have met China’s import standards. Chiao Chun (焦鈞), the author of Fruits and Politics — A Recollection of Cross-strait Agricultural Interaction Over the Past Decade (水果政治學：兩岸農業交流十年回顧與展望), said that China’s announcement is clearly targeting
‘NOT COLD ENOUGH’: Schools are disregarding Premier Su Tseng-chang’s instruction that students may wear out-of-uniform clothing to stay warm, an association said An investigative report revealed that 72.5 percent of the nation’s senior-high schools and 95.6 percent of junior-high schools punish students for wearing unapproved winter clothes in contravention of educational guidelines, lawmakers and student rights advocates said yesterday. Speaking at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan, the Taiwan Youth Association for Democracy said there is an endemic disregard for the Ministry of Education’s regulations and that private schools are more likely to contravene ministry rules. The report is a compilation of 2,856 student reports about dress code reinforcement at 425 high schools and vocational high schools, the association said. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌)
DISSATISFACTION? If the referendums collect more than 700,000 signatures each, they would have gotten the most signatures in the shortest time, the party said The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) two referendum petitions — one on banning the importation of pork with traces of ractopamine and the other on holding referendums on the same day as national elections — had as of Thursday gathered 691,398 and 674,497 signatures respectively, the party said yesterday. If the petitions collect more than 700,000 signatures apiece, they would have garnered the most signatures in the shortest time since the Referendum Act (公民投票法) was amended in 2017, party officials said. The KMT proposed the “anti-ractopamine pork” or “food safety” referendum just days after President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement on Aug. 28 last