Thu, Jul 17, 2003 - Page 3 News List

US tells Taiwan to buy subs from Italy

DPA , TAIPEI

The US has suggested that Taiwan buy used submarines from Spain or Italy to fill the defense gap between now and 2012, when Taiwan takes delivery of eight subs from the US, a newspaper said yesterday.

Quoting a leading Defense magazine, a Chinese-language newspaper said the US government has suggested to Taipei that it buy second-hand subs from Spain or Italy to meet its defense needs between now and 2012.

US officials made the suggestion because although it has approved the sale of eight diesel-electric subs to Taipei, Taiwan's military will not have the budget until 2006 and production won't begin until 2012.

US Navy Rear Admiral John Butler, program executive officer for submarines, told the defense magazine the US has told Taiwan that as soon as Taipei has the budget, Washington will invite manufacturers to submit plans.

"Taiwan's reply was that they expect to get the budget by 2006," he said.

"The US plans to start producing the eight conventional subs at the pace of one sub a year in 2012. Production costs plus training and support totals US$7 billion," the magazine said.

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