The United States has approved the sale to Taiwan of key components of equipment for Taipei’s program to build its own submarine fleet, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported, citing its defense ministry.
The island’s defense ministry did not specify the number of contracts and the exact names of technologies purchased from the United States. Still, a military source told the newspaper that the Trump administration approved the issuance of permits to export digital sonar and integrated combat systems in December 2020 and January of this year. The Joe Biden administration in February approved the issuance of permits for the export of periscope systems.
Taiwan is not able to produce these components independently and must rely on the United States.
The Taiwan government initiated the project to create its own submarines back in 2016 to replenish the aging fleet of four submarines with eight new ones. The first prototype, which will cost Taipei $ 1.7 billion, should be ready by 2024 and put into operation in 2025. Work on the prototype began at the CSBC Corporation shipyard in November last year.
The publication notes that previously the United States was reluctant to sell advanced military technology to Taipei because of fears that Beijing would later receive it. Still, Donald Trump’s administration approved some contracts for the supply of weapons to Taiwan, and the new administration, according to the newspaper, seems to continue Trump’s approach.
The US is selling billions of dollars ‘ worth of weapons to Taiwan amid tensions between Taipei and Beijing, which considers Taiwan its province. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has repeatedly called the Taiwan issue the most sensitive in the bilateral relations between Washington and Beijing. The Chinese authorities protested to the United States over the supply of weapons to the island.