Two decommissioned Kidd-class US destroyers purchased by the government have departed for Taiwan and will arrive in December, a television station reported yesterday.
A 600-member Taiwanese crew set sail on Saturday with the warships, which were christened Keelung and Suao, from Port Charleston, South Carolina, CTI Cable Station reported.
A launch ceremony was held at the port on Saturday, and some US representatives and South Carolina's Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer attended the elaborate event. This type of event has been rare since Taiwan ended its formal diplomatic relations with the US in 1979.
"The destroyers will boost significantly our air defense and anti-submarine capabilities," Admiral Chen Pang-chih (
Chen made a special trip from Taipei to participate in the launch ceremony.
US Marine General John Allen, the US Department of Defense's principal director for Asia-Pacific Affairs, delivered a speech for the occasion. He said that although US President George W. Bush opposes Taiwan's independence and any unilateral moves by either China or Taiwan to change the status quo, the US is committed to make available defensive arms and defensive services to Taiwan to help it meet its self-defense needs.
The US agreed to sell the government four older Kidd-class destroyers in 2003.
The refurbished destroyers will fill gaps in the navy's fleet air defense and Anti-Submarine Warfare capabilities.
The government purchased four of the 8,000-tonne guided-missile ships in 2001 for US$800 million. They were decommissioned by the US navy in 1998, and are expected to remain in service for another 20 years.
The destroyers will bolster the navy's ability to respond to any Chinese attempt to blockade the island or land an invasion force.
The vessels are equipped with Harpoon missiles, five-inch guns as well as anti-air warfare systems.
Under the provisions of its Taiwan Relations Act, the US pledged to provide Taiwan with defensive weapons systems. That law was passed shortly after Washington transferred diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.
Given their large displacement, upon their arrival in Taiwan the two decommissioned Kidd-class US destroyers will be docked temporarily at the Suao harbor's deep-water berth.
The two ships will later be relocated to the Tsoying Naval Base in Kaohsiung City after construction of a new deep water wharf at the base is completed.
Without completed infrastructure and training, the expedited sale of new F-16s from the US could become a burden rather than a help, a military official said yesterday. Reuters on Thursday last week reported that Washington is looking to accelerate the delivery of 66 new F-16C/D Block 70 aircraft in response to what it sees as increasing intimidation by Beijing. Under the terms of the original US$8 billion deal signed in 2019, the US is expected to deliver a single-seater and double-seater for testing next year, then deliver the 66 new aircraft in batches of four or five from 2024 to 2026. The officials
SLIGHTS: Beijing intends to display pro-unification messages and prominently feature Taiwanese volunteers in its propaganda videos, an official said Taiwanese officials are poised to boycott next month’s Beijing Winter Olympics, an official with knowledge of the matter said yesterday, citing concerns that China would slight Taiwan during the Games. This year’s Winter Olympics are scheduled to open on Friday next week amid a diplomatic boycott by Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Lithuania, New Zealand, the UK and the US in response to China’s human rights abuses against Uighurs in Xinjiang and crackdowns on democracy advocates in Hong Kong. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said that a Cabinet-appointed task force has determined that Taiwan’s delegation would abstain from the opening and
‘CHINESE STYLE’: Taipei residents do not want smart city efforts based on ‘centralized control, tracking and mass surveillance,’ the campaign’s initiators said Taipei City Councilor Miao Po-ya (苗博雅) yesterday said that her campaign against the Taipeipass (台北通) app has garnered almost 10,000 signatures since Friday, but exposed her to insults and threats by telephone and through social media. It seems to be a “coordinated attack,” as all the messages follow a similar pattern, she said, citing as an example one saying: “We love the Taipeipass. Do not block the smart city plan. Stop interfering with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲).” Some people had left disparaging remarks and false information when signing up for the online petition, and there have been attempts to disrupt her
INCREASED COOPERATION: Part of the funding is to be used to further the aims of a Taiwan-US human resources development platform launched in 2015, a source said An increase of ￥100 million (US$878,765) to Japan’s annual foreign affairs budget is for “advancing the Japan-Taiwan relationship,” information published on the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Web site showed. The ministry’s budget for last year was ￥1.7 billion; it was increased to ￥1.8 billion for this year. The ministry wrote that the additional funding was to be used for “cooperating with allies and like-minded countries to safeguard the universal values of the international community.” Regarding Taiwan specifically, the ministry said that it was “responding to an increasingly complex security and economic environment,” and that it aimed to “strengthen diplomacy and cooperation