During a meeting with shipbuilders in Kaohsiung yesterday, president-elect Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said that she is determined to have naval vessels built locally.
Accompanied by Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊), policy director Chang Ching-sen (張景森) and Taiwan Institute of Economic Research vice president Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫), Tsai met with more than 20 shipbuilding business operators in a closed meeting.
“The national defense industry is one of the ‘five innovative industries’ and building naval vessels, especially submarines, is important,” Tsai told a news conference after the meeting. “We are not just talking, our policy team did its research before we started our tour around the nation to meet with representatives from each industry and we have some rough ideas already.”
Tsai said that the development of the national defense industry should go hand-in-hand with overall economic development and national defense capacity should be built up through innovation.
Taiwan had once ranked sixth globally in number of shipbuilding orders, she said.
Her plan would include reviving Kaohsiung’s once-prosperous shipbuilding industry through building naval vessels, followed by exploration of overseas markets, Tsai said.
Chen said that Kaohsiung, was once the center of shipbuilding in Taiwan, and the city welcomes Tsai’s plan to support the industry with government resources, since the industry has been fighting alone for too long.
Jong Shyn Shipbuilding chairman Han Pi-hsiang (韓碧祥), who is also the president of the Shipbuilders’ Association of Taiwan, welcomed Tsai’s determination.
“[Tsai’s plan] is like a heart-strengthening injection for the shipbuilding industry,” Han said. “In past decades, governments have repeatedly promised to build naval vessels, but their promises were never fulfilled, I hope they are realized this time.”
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