Sat, May 25, 2019 - Page 3 News List

President lauds start of warship mass production

‘TAIWANESE SPIRIT’:Small, but fast, the Tuojiang-class corvette embodies Taiwan’s commitment to defense and development of an asymmetric strategy, Tsai Ing-wen said

By Lee Hsin-fang and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

President Tsai Ing-wen points to a poster showing different Taiwanese suppliers for Tuojiang-class frigates and high-speed minelayers, as she is joined by Lung Teh Shipbuilding Co chairman Huang Shou-chen, second row, second right, and National Security Council Secretary-General David Lee, second row, right, at a commencement ceremony at the company’s shipbuilding yard in Yilan County’s Suao Township yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The commencement of mass production of the nation’s Tuojiang-class frigates and high-speed minelayers yesterday symbolizes the government’s commitment to building an indigenous shipbuilding program and boosting national defense, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday.

Presiding over a commencement ceremony at Lung Teh Shipbuilding Co in Yilan County’s Suao Township (蘇澳), Tsai said that the Tuojiang was the first navy ship she boarded after assuming office as president.

“It was then that I resolved to bolster Taiwan’s national defense industry,” Tsai said.

The navy has overcome several bottlenecks while fine-tuning a prototype of the warship and come up with designs for future submarines, she said.

Tsai said she had also demanded that the navy expedite the fine-tuning process to make it to the deadline for construction.

The first batch of three Tuojiang-class frigates are expected to be completed by 2025, with the first one completed by the end of 2021, the same year when the first batch of four minelayers are expected to be finished, Tsai said.

The commencement ceremony yesterday and the groundbreaking ceremony for the submarine project on May 9 symbolize a new chapter for the navy, Tsai said.

Small, but fast, the Tuojiang is a testament to Taiwan’s development of an asymmetric strategy and embodies the “Taiwanese spirit,” Tsai said.

“Although our land is small, the progress we have made in society, the economy and culture have been recognized by the international community. We are capable and resolved to defend Taiwanese democracy and freedom,” she said.

Tsai commended Lung Teh Shipbuilding for being an exemplary model for the development of national defense and creating jobs for Yilan.

The company’s bright future and the quality jobs it has created would usher in prosperity and development in Yilan, she said.

The president promised to continue to do her best for Yilan and Taiwan, while encouraging the public to bravely face up to the national security and economic challenges.

Described as an “aircraft carrier-killer” by media outlets, Taiwan’s first Tuojiang warship was built in 2012 by Lung Teh Shipbuilding and commissioned in March 2014.

As for the minelayers, the navy said the ships would be equipped with T-75 20-millimeter automatic cannons and T-74 machine guns.

In addition, the ships would have a newly developed automatic minelaying system and propulsion equipment that would them to perform their tasks quickly and precisely, the navy said.

Additional reporting by CNA

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