The legislature's defense committee yesterday started to show signs of a breakup in their joint support of the state-run China Shipbuilding Corp's (CSBC) bid to build submarines for the navy.
Two lawmakers of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) became less willing to support the corporation's bid to build six of the eight diesel-electric submarines that the US has promised to procure for Taiwan.
Lawmakers Li Wen-chung (
They were unhappy with the corporation for its failure to provide sufficient information about its plans for building the six submarines.
The situation unfolded yesterday at a meeting of the defense committee, where the Ministry of National Defense (MND), the CSBC and the Industrial Development Bureau under the Ministry of Economic Affairs reported on the progress of their joint efforts to persuade the US to have the corporation build six of the eight submarines.
The corporation's reports were harshly criticized by Li and Chen for a lack of any substantial information on plans for building the submarines.
Greatly disappointed, the two lawmakers said they have no choice but to become reserved in their support for the corporation's bid.
It was the first time that lawmakers on the defense committee started to show signs of a rift in their unified stance on the submarine issue.
The development might not be the corporation's fault. The MND and navy might have to take some of the responsibility.
CSBC general manager Fan Kuan-nan (范光男), the highest-ranking corporation official to attend yesterday's meeting, said in response that they did not get enough information from the military.
"We do not know yet what type and how large the submarine is that the navy wants. We cannot work out concrete plans for the building of submarines under the circumstances," Fan said.
The navy defended itself by saying that it has given the corporation the results of the combat-needs assessment for the submarines it wants to buy. But it did not say whether the information it has provided is enough or of any help to the corporation.
The MND yesterday dealt the corporation yet another heavy blow by making public in its report the US' objection to the plans to have six of the eight submarines built in Taiwan.
"The US Navy has repeated again and again that it has promised only to get eight submarines for Taiwan, not to help Taiwan develop a capacity for building submarines," the ministry said in the report.
"Estimates by the US navy also show that if part of the eight submarines are to be built in Taiwan, the total cost will rise and more time will be needed for the completion of the project," the report said.
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