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Navy will not rule out building submarines: MND

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The R.O.C. Navy will not rule out possible ways to obtain submarines, including building its own, military spokesman Luo Shao-ho (羅紹和) said yesterday.

Luo's comment came after the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) announced the same day a defense blue paper in which it proposed that Taiwan develop indigenously produced weapons, including submarines.

The DPP's blue paper focuses on the military threat China will pose to Taiwan in 2025, along with the party's defense policy for the next decade.

The DPP plans to adopt an innovative approach to counter the impact of the rapid growth of China's military strength, according to the paper.

Besides purchasing weapons from other countries, the DPP plans to develop indigenously produced weapons, including submarines, starting in 2016.

Asked to comment, Luo said yesterday that Taiwan has been pushing the U.S. to sell it diesel-powered submarines for some time, but Washington yet to make a final decision.

Meanwhile, the military is also weighing other options, including studying the feasibility of building diesel-electric submarines itself, he added.

The R.O.C. Navy is currently asking shipbuilder CSBC Corporation., Taiwan (台船公司) and Ship And Ocean Industries R&D Center to study the feasibility in building its own submarines, Luo added.

Currently four submarines are in active service in Taiwan: two Dutch-built submarines from the 1980s, and two U.S. Guppy-class submarines built during World War II.

Taiwan has been asking the U.S. to sell diesel-powered submarines for more than a decade in the hope of replacing the decades-old subs.

In 2001, the administration of former U.S. President George Bush offered to provide eight diesel-electric submarines. But so far, no significant process of the sale has been made.

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