It is time for the US to break a Chinese-imposed “embargo” and help Taiwan develop its own submarines, a policy adviser to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said.
“The construction of such a submarine industry would help defend Taiwan,” Peter Navarro, an economics professor at the University of California, Irvine, wrote in an article published by National Interest magazine this week.
“It would also create new, high-skilled jobs at robust wage levels — the most critical need of a Taiwan that, like America, has off-shored far too much of its industrial base to China,” he said.
Navarro said that he had just returned from a visit to Taiwan where he conducted lengthy discussions with experts about what it would mean if Beijing controlled the nation.
He said that Beijing would build a submarine base on the east coast and other bases that would significantly extend the effective range of China’s air force.
China has been very successful in bullying other nations into not selling modern diesel-electric submarines to Taiwan and pressuring them not to share blueprints or help Taiwan develop its own submarine industry, he said.
“It is now time for the US to help break this embargo,” he said.
The Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, this week adopted a party platform that for the first time includes the “six assurances” given to Taiwan in 1982 by then-US president Ronald Reagan and is sharply critical of China.
“Taiwan urgently needs to upgrade its defensive capabilities and Taiwan’s leaders clearly understand that such capabilities must be focused on developing a similar set of anti-access, area denial capabilities that China is now using to deter US sea and air power in Asia,” Navarro said.
“One key to any such strategy is the development of a fleet of conventional diesel-electric submarines with state-of-the-art air-independent propulsion systems,” he said.
Navarro cited former Pentagon official Seth Cropsey as saying that a modern, deployable fleet of submarines is critical to the sustained defense of Taiwan.
Now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, Cropsey wrote in a recent article that the US could provide design engineers, work with Japanese shipbuilders and relax export controls on items needed to build submarines for Taiwan.
He said that another option would be to use blueprints of an existing model and customize it to fit Taiwan’s requirements.
“Japan is both capable and possibly willing — with the right encouragement — to assist Taiwan in constructing diesel-electric submarines,” Cropsey wrote.
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