Hai Kun, Taiwan’s first domestically produced submarine. This ship is described as a miracle weapon in the asymmetric war against China. Photo/REUTERS
TAIPEI – Taiwan launched the Hai Kun, its first domestically produced submarine, on Thursday. The developer of the $1.5 billion submarine has dubbed it a “wonder weapon” in the asymmetric war against China.
President Taian Tsai Ing-wen hopes the move will make the island more independent.
Tsai witnessed the launch ceremony live on Thursday, showing off the first of eight new submarines that will enter service in 2025.
The submarine will join two other submarines in Taipei’s arsenal, both acquired from the Netherlands about four decades ago.
“In the past, domestically developed submarines were considered an impossible task. “However, currently, a submarine designed and produced by the people of our country is before our eyes,” he said.
“Taiwan must take this step and allow an independent national defense policy to grow and develop in our region,” said Tsai, as reported by the BBC.
The announcement comes amid repeated warnings from Taiwanese officials regarding Chinese military activity in the airspace and waters around the island, with Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng recently referring to a series of land, sea, air and amphibious exercises that carried out by the People’s Republic of China.
The submarine project was launched in 2016 and has cost Taipei more than $1.5 billion, with the first prototype named “Hai Kun” — or “sea monster” in Chinese.
Living up to its nickname, the submarine’s developer, CSBC Corp, described the vessel as a “wonder weapon” in asymmetric warfare with China, a claim echoed by Taiwan’s leader on Thursday.