If Taiwan decides to build its own diesel-electric submarines, the US will “very likely” provide some assistance, a former US official said.
Randall Schriver, a former US Department of State and Pentagon official, said there were “multiple pathways forward” for Taiwan to acquire submarines.
He was speaking at the launch of a new report on Chinese reactions to US arms sales to Taiwan.
US Taiwan Business Council president Rupert Hammond-Chambers said he “absolutely agreed” on the likelihood of US help.
However, Hammond-Chambers said the administration of US President Barack Obama “had no real intention” to move forward this year with the sale of F-16C/D aircraft or submarines to Taiwan.
He said that during a visit to Washington last week, Taiwan Affairs Office Director Wang Yi (王毅) did not make arms sales to Taiwan “a particularly high priority.”
“I actually think that is news. Certainly it is the first time that I have heard of a senior Chinese official being somewhat disinterested in the subject of arms sales,” Hammond-Chambers said.
It suggested that Wang did not “rate” the prospects of a new arms sales package, he said.
“That’s cause for concern,” he said.
A US congressional staffer asked Hammond-Chambers if he believed Taiwan really still wanted to buy submarines.
“I absolutely believe that Taiwan wants the submarines,” he said.
“They are having a significant internal debate at the moment on how to move forward,” he said.
Schriver, now president of the Project 2049 Institute, said the perception that Taiwan had “a lack of interest” in buying submarines stemmed from frustration with “lost time” and “useless efforts” to come up with programs.
One of the multiple pathways forward was a Taiwan indigenous program based on unique designs or designs procured elsewhere with the help and assistance of the US defense industry, he said.
“Something along those lines is very doable and as soon as Taiwan makes the decision that’s the path they are going to follow, we will have a real program,” he said.
Asked if Washington would allow US defense companies to assist Taiwan with submarines and provide the needed weapons systems, Schriver said that support for a new program would be “very likely.”
“You are not going to get the US making a commitment before there is a program,” he said.
Schriver said it would not be possible for the US to say that torpedoes and combat weapons suits would be available “until there is a program.”
“When there is a program, I have confidence the US will support it,” he said.
Schriver said the US would not build diesel electric submarines for Taiwan. However, he believed that if Taiwan built its own subs, the US government would give the US defense industry permission to support that program.
When pressed on the issue and asked about reports that the Obama administration would not agree to assist Taiwan to equip subs, Schriver said that was because Taiwan did not have a submarine program at this time.
“These submarines are not going to be built here,” Hammond-Chambers added. “But if Taiwan does make a decision to move forward with an indigenous program there is no reason to believe that the US would not look at licenses in respect to support of that program.”
However, a source closely associated with efforts by Taiwan to acquire submarines told the Taipei Times in February that the US Navy had instructed top US arms companies to not involve themselves in a Taiwanese submarine program.
Questioned on Taiwan’s ability to build submarines, Schriver said: “If North Korea can build submarines, if Columbian drug runners can build submarines, if universities can build research submarines, Taiwan can build submarines.”
Additional reporting by staff writer
DISTRUST WARRANTED? The WHO is under China’s control and has become a useless organization, while data from China cannot be trusted, a Control Yuan member said China’s demand that the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, Hubei Province, not be referred to with names like the “Wuhan pneumonia” betrays its lack of confidence in itself, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told lawmakers yesterday. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘) asked Su, during a interpellation at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, for his view on China’s attempts to redeem its national image in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These included China’s efforts to “bleach” its image, including having WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus publicly praise its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, and thanking it for buying time
TOO TIRED: Investigators found that the pilot’s lack of alertness could be attributed to a lack of sleep the previous night, when he had slept with his child It was a copilot’s inappropriate operation of the aircraft and the pilot’s insufficient alertness that led to a hard landing of a China Airlines cargo flight on Dec. 13, 2018, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. Flight CI6844, a Boeing 747-409 which departed from Hong Kong International Airport, landed on the pre-threshold area of runway L5 at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, about 21m before the head of the runway, an investigation report said. The hard landing damaged three runway lights, but none of the personnel on board sustained any injuries, the report said. When approaching the runway, the copilot failed to maintain
REPEAT OFFENDER: The man went outside for exercise on Wednesday and then left his home on Saturday with his girlfriend, officials said A New Taipei City man has been fined NT$400,000 (US$13,221) and ordered into government quarantine after breaking home quarantine for a second time on Saturday. The 25-year-old man, surnamed Chen (陳) returned to Taiwan on Sunday last week and was ordered to home quarantine until Sunday. He was seen leaving his home on a scooter with his girlfriend on Saturday, three days after he was fined NT$200,000 for going outside to exercise, police said. Chen has now been placed in a quarantine center arranged by the district office and health center of the district where he lives, police said. Police warned the public
Taipei residents who stay at hotels in the city during their 14-day mandatory quarantine period are eligible to apply for the city’s NT$7,000 subsidy, with online applications to be launched next week. Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) on Monday said Taipei residents who have COVID-19 Health Declaration and Home Quarantine Notice dated after March 19 and a quarantine hotel receipt for the dates covered by the quarantine period, would be eligible for the subsidy. The Taipei City Government on Sunday told the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) that so many city residents are under home quarantine that about 90 percent of