China opposes US, ally support for Taiwan’s submarine development program

Illustration: US Navy photo of Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Nebraska (SSBN 739)

China’s ministry of foreign affairs has voiced its opposition to foreign countries supporting the development of Taiwan’s indigenous submarine program.

Speaking at a press conference on January 14, foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said China “firmly opposes arms sales to Taiwan by any country and military links in any form between any country and Taiwan.”

“We urge the US and other relevant countries to keep in mind the sensitivity and graveness of this issue, earnestly abide by the one-China principle, not to permit relevant enterprises from participating in Taiwan’s Indigenous Defense Submarine (IDS) program in any form, stop having any military links with Taiwan, and prudently and properly handle Taiwan-related issues so as to avoid severely undermining their bilateral relations with China and peace and stability across the Straits,” Hua Chunying said.

China’s foreign ministry addressed the issue after Taiwanese news outlets reported that several international companies expressed their willingness to take part in the program.

The reports said a number of companies from the US, Europe, India and Japan submitted their proposals for the program. Earlier reports from the country indicated that the US state department had approved the transfer of technology which would allow companies to support Taiwan in developing its own submarine.

According to Taiwan News, the country’s defense ministry recently said that construction could start as early as 2019 end while the first boat could be completed by 2025.

Taiwan operates two World War 2 era submarines and two Hai Lung-class (Zwaardvis-class) boats which were delivered to Taiwan from the Netherlands in 1987 and 1988. The US is already supplying Taiwan with Harpoon missiles and heavyweight torpedoes for the newer submarines.

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