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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times Subs crucial to Taiwan’s defense

Subs crucial to Taiwan’s defense

The nation’s first domestically made submarine, named the Hai Kun (海鯤), or “Narwhal,” had its commissioning ceremony at shipbuilder CSBC Corp’s Kaohsiung dockyard last week.

As the first indigenous defense submarine prototype, it still requires many modifications and final testing.

However, information leaks and corruption allegations surrounding the program have been making news headlines, causing furor and confusion among the general public. The Ministry of National Defense and prosecutors should quickly get to the bottom of the matter.

On another note, pro-China supporters, political commentators and retired generals have been prattling on political talk shows about their opposition to the submarine program, such as how Taiwan’s peripheral oceanic geography is unsuitable for large submarines since the Taiwan Strait, with an area of 80,000km2 and shallow depths, is only suited for small submarine activity, but not for large ones. Satellites would also reveal the whereabouts of submarines around the Taiwan Strait, they said.

Various fear mongering narratives have brushed aside the fact that submarines are an extension of national defense, not to mention they could launch torpedoes and missiles to deter scorched-earth attacks by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army against Taiwan proper.

If war were ever to erupt between China and Taiwan, it would be totally different in nature from the land warfare taking place in Ukraine. Once maritime and air traffic are blocked, supplies from other countries would be cut off. Therefore, submarine ordinance would be better stored in friendly neighboring countries.

In the event of a war, military submarines could land at foreign docks for resupply and not lose combat power due to a surface-level blockade of military aid. The US’ Taiwan Relations Act and US President Joe Biden’s promise to defend Taiwan, along with the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the US and Japan, should be able to ensure the realization of this deployment.

As Taiwan prepares for asymmetric warfare in the face of Chinese threats, modern submarines play a significant role in defending Taiwan and thereby should never be vilified nor tarnished.

Fang Ping-sheng is a former major in the Republic of China Marine Corps.

Translated by Rita Wang

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2023/10/13



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Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

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