The navy is to allocate NT$470 billion (US$14.57 billion) for 12 shipbuilding projects over a 22-year period, Navy Command Headquarters Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Mei Chia-shu (梅家樹) said yesterday.
The navy will first focus on building a new model of amphibious transport dock, high-speed mine-laying ships and a Tuo Jiang-class corvette next year, said Mei, who gave the figure for the 2018 to 2040 proposal, described as a rough estimate, at a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee.
He said that contract designs for the new amphibious transport dock are to be finalized this year, to be followed by those for the high-speed mine-laying vessels and the Tuo Jiang-class ships — the nation’s first domestically developed stealth missile corvette.
Spending on these related projects is estimated at NT$60 billion from now through 2025, he said.
Mei was answering questions from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), who expressed concern about which vessels would be given priority on the agenda of the navy’s mega-program to build locally developed warships.
Chiang’s questions came as the navy was set to make public 12 major warship-building projects at an investment conference in Taipei later yesterday, as part of its efforts to demonstrate the nation’s resolve to build its own ships and to attract greater investment ahead of the first-ever International Maritime and Defense Expo, which is scheduled to be held in Kaohsiung from Sept. 14 to Sept. 17.
Local media have reported that the navy is hoping to build six to eight Aegis-equipped destroyers to replace its aging Kidd-class fleet.
Washington agreed to sell Taiwan eight diesel-electric submarines in 2001, but the deal has not been completed, as the US has not built diesel-electric submarines since 1959.
Since 2001, developing locally built warships has been a hotly debated issue in the face of increasing military enhancement efforts by other countries in the region.
It is difficult for Taiwan to acquire submarines from other countries due to Chinese obstruction.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on June 4 reaffirmed her goal of pushing for a self-reliant national defense force, when she boarded a domestically built warship off Yilan County.
“In addition to enhancing naval combat capacity, it will help the development of the shipbuilding and machinery sectors, as well as system integration,” she said.
“The government will continue to promote the policy of building its own vessels,” Taiwan Shipbuilding Industry Association chairman Han Pi-hsiang (韓碧祥) said on Sunday.
Han added that he welcomes the government policy and estimated that it would push the sector’s annual production value to NT$70 billion.
Mask easing: Teachers are allowed to take their masks off while lecturing indoors, but students should keep theirs on, as COVID-19 measures ease this week The Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday released new on-campus COVID-19 prevention guidelines, stating that masks can be taken off while exercising, singing, dancing, performing, taking photographs, dining, drinking, video and voice recording, hosting events, presenting speeches and lecturing outdoors. Large outdoor events organized by schools should comply with the mask regulations issued by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), it added. The new guidelines came into effect yesterday, and people in Taiwan are no longer required to wear masks outdoors for the first time since May 19 last year. The CECC announced the easing of the mask mandate on Monday, adding that it
LUNAR NEW YEAR PEAK: Taiwanese who are in China should get vaccinated and consider returning early, as infection rates are expected to increase, the CECC said China faces five major problems once COVID-19 begins spreading there, with a peak in infections likely during the Lunar New Year holidays, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), said yesterday. Wang wrote on Facebook that according to the center’s data, the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in China is worth noting, as the new Omicron subvariants BF.7 and BA.5.2 spreading in China are highly infectious and are more transmissible than the previously dominating Omicron subvariants. “The virus cannot be eliminated even under China’s strict control measures,” he wrote. “Its policy
‘SEXUAL ASSAULT’: Taipei prosecutors said that cooperation agreements between Taiwan and the Czech Republic grant Czech officials protection against prosecution The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office yesterday reaffirmed that it would not charge a Czech official with sexual assault because he is protected by diplomatic immunity. The office released a statement saying it has verified that the man works for the Czech Economic and Cultural Office Taipei’s foreign affairs corps and is thereby protected from criminal prosecution. A foreign graduate student in Taiwan had filed a complaint alleging that the section head of the Czech Economic and Trade Section had sexually assaulted her on April 21 last year. The woman said the Czech official had invited her to his home and then forced her
‘IMMUNITY WANES’: The next wave of infections would likely have fewer cases than previous virus outbreaks, NTU College of Public Health professor Tony Chen said Wearing masks and social distancing should still be recommended in four types of settings, as a COVID-19 wave caused by new Omicron subvariants of SARS-CoV-2 might occur in the middle of next month, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health professor Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. Chen made the comment after the Central Epidemic Command Center announced that people would from today no longer need to wear a mask outside. He suggested that Taiwan implement a double-track method that focuses on select disease prevention measures, such as enhancing immune protection from infection and through vaccination, and self-disease prevention, while other