Staff, China Times, Mar 19
Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense rejected Wednesday the idea of purchasing submarines from Russia put forward in a local media's opinion article, saying that it has absolutely no plans to do so.
Taiwan still wants the US to sell it submarines and will also continue to proceed with an indigenous submarine program while awaiting a clear response from Washington to Taiwan's request, the ministry said in a statement. "We also welcome any democratic country to cooperate with us in pushing for the local submarine program," it added.
The ministry said that US help with Taiwan's intention to acquire submarines will help the country have more confidence in engaging with China, which would also be in the interests of both Taiwan and the US and would promote stability and peace in the Asia-Pacific region.
The ministry's remarks came in response to the opinion article published that day in the Chinese-language China Times, which said that Taiwan has three options for acquiring submarines.
Building its own is one option, while another is to seek US sales of submarines or technology transfers, the article said. The third possible solution is to purchase submarines from Russia, if China is not opposed to this, it added.
Taiwan is moving forward with a local submarine program but will still seek Washington's assistance through such measures as technology transfers and sales of related equipment, Taiwanese officials have said.
In 2001, then-US president George W Bush moved to help Taiwan acquire eight diesel-electric submarines, but there has been little progress since then, prompting Taiwan to seek its own solution.