Sat, Nov 23, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Shipbuilding workers back submarine plan

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Shih-ying, second right, DPP Keelung City Councilor Chang Hao-han, right, and members of CSBC Corp, Taiwan’s labor union, hold placards that read: “National defense autonomy brings economic prosperity; national defense industry increases job opportunities” at a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

Workers from shipbuilding yards in Keelung joined Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) yesterday in voicing their support for President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) indigenous defense submarine program to create jobs and facilitate the development of the nation’s defense industry.

At a campaign event on Thursday, the president, accompanied by Tsai Shih-ying, who represents Keelung in the legislature, promised that the main facilities for domestic production of the submarines would be based in Keelung Port.

The program would mainly be undertaken by CSBC Corp, Taiwan, which has shipyards in Kaohsiung and Keelung, the president said, but the plan has met with misgivings and dissent from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

“Keelung is an important naval port for Taiwan, and our navy’s main logistics and supply center is at this port. It is appropriate that the new facility to construct our indigenous submarines be based here,” Tsai Shih-ying told a news conference yesterday.

“It is quite suitable for the equitable allocation of our nation’s resources to different regions and in terms of long-term strategic plans for our national defense,” he said. “We hope the new facility can bolster the development of the defense sector and Keelung Port’s shipbuilding industry, and create a cluster effect for businesses and industries related to marine sciences, and logistics supplies for navy and shipping services.”

CSBC union chairman Lan Hsu-ching (藍許清) denounced statements by Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), the KMT’s presidential candidate, who said that the Tsai administration’s focus on building an indigenous submarine program was wrong and questioned the need for it.

“We fully support the submarine building program. Our members working at the Keelung shipyard all want it to get started soon. It will boost the shipbuilding sector with its cluster effect, and give Keelung’s shipyard a vital role in developing our domestic defense industry,” Lan said.

“The shipbuilding industry has been stagnant in the past few years. With few projects to work on, businesses in the surrounding areas have suffered from the downturn. Once the program gets going, creating new jobs and activity at the shipyard, it would revitalize the local economy and improve the livelihoods of residents in the area,” he said.

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