- Taiwan on Thursday unveiled its first domestically-produced submarine. The development comes as the island strengthens its defenses amid fears of a potential Chinese invasion, with Pres. Tsai Ing-wen stressing that this achievement had previously been deemed impossible.1
- The vessel was launched into the harbor of the southern port city of Kaohsiung, where tests of its seaworthiness will be carried out in the coming weeks. Costing $1.5B, the submarine is expected to be ready for delivery to Taiwan's military by the end of 2024.2
- The submarine program also represents a diplomatic breakthrough for Taiwan, as the self-governing island reportedly sourced expertise, technology, and parts from around the world despite Beijing's efforts to isolate Taipei.3
- Containing roughly 40% domestic content — according to Taiwanese ship-maker CSBC Corp — the Narwhal will carry US-made Mark 49 heavyweight torpedoes and use a combat system produced by Lockheed Martin Corp.4
- It is the first of eight Taiwanese-developed submarines that are projected to join two existing submarines in the fleet purchased from the Netherlands in the 1980s. The fleet is expected to have at least four vessels in service by 2027.5
- In response to the unveiling, Chinese spokesperson Wu Qian claimed that Taiwan could not thwart the trend of national reunification nor the People's Liberation Army's ability to safeguard national sovereignty. Beijing, which views Taiwan as its own, is believed to possess approximately 60 submarines.6
- Anti-China narrative, as provided by Taipei times. Submarines have time and time again shown their importance in international warfare, and Taiwan's construction of its own domestically-produced vessel allows the island to enter an elite club of nations capable of such a feat. This unveiling highlights both how far Taiwan has come and the island's indomitable spirit in the face of Chinese oppression.
- Pro-China narrative, as provided by Chinadaily.com.cn. No matter Taiwan's feats of domestic construction, the island's reunification with mainland China is inevitable. The illegitimate authorities in Taipei continue to stubbornly project a fantasy of independence, only causing further damage to the opportunities for peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.