Legislative Yuan speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) reiterated yesterday that Taiwan's submarine procurement plan must be carried out based on a legislative resolution stipulating that part of the submarines on offer must be built domestically in Taiwan.
Quoting a resolution passed by the Legislative Yuan in May last year on the proposed purchases by the navy of eight diesel-powered submarines that the US has offered to sell, Wang said the subs must be acquired under three principles: that the procurement is in line with Taiwan's warfare needs; the price structure conforms to the international price range and six of the eight subs must be built or assembled in Taiwan.
Wang said it is the legislature's duty to uphold and carry out the resolution that it passed.
He said although a US Navy team said during a recent visit to Taipei that Taiwan was not suited to building submarines, state-run China Shipbuilding Corp (CSBC) is capable of assembling ship hulls of all kinds and the building prices can be clearly calculated if the submarines were built by CSBC.
Commenting on the US Navy's proposal that the Legislative Yuan pass the budget for the submarines by next July, Wang said he does not particularly understand how the schedule is decided, but he said he will see to it that the budget plan is screened as early as possible. Wang, however, said he will not offer any timetable for that legislative move.
Opposition People First Party Legislator Lin Yu-fang (
Lin asserted that the submarine budget will not be passed if the three-point Legislative Yuan submarine building resolution is ignored, either by the Ministry of National Defense or the Presidential Office.
Pointing out that even South Korea and Pakistan are building submarines, Lin said, "Nations building their own submarines" is now a worldwide trend.
Allowing CSBC to build six of the eight submarines on offer will also help the state-run company acquire shipbuilding skills of international standard and secure job opportunities for the 2,300-strong CSBC staff for at least 10 years, Lin said.
Since the US stopped producing diesel submarines long ago, its contractors will have to cooperate with their European counterparts to build the subs for Taiwan.
The US Navy officials said that the US will be instrumental in arranging the building of the eight 2,000-tonne diesel submarines by either Germany or Spain.
The US officials were apparently not very agreeable to notions that CSBC undertake the building of the eight diesel submarines.
Most of the legislators who have been pushing for plans allowing CSBC to build part of the eight diesel submarines that the US agreed to sell to Taiwan are displeased with the opinions of the US Navy officials.
In 2001, the US government announced a robust package of arms it had agreed to sell to Taiwan, including the eight diesel-powered submarines.
Taiwan formally filed a request in 1995 for the submarines from the US in an effort to beef up its deterrence capabilities against possible attempts by China to blockade Taiwan.
According to CSBC officials, it is hoped that a "2-2-2-2" plan will be followed in the building of the eight diesel-powered subs, where the first two subs are built totally abroad, one-third of the third and fourth subs are built in Taiwan, two-thirds of the fifth and sixth subs are manufactured in Taiwan, and the last two subs are built completely in Taiwan.
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