Taiwan to build stealth warships
Taiwan has decided to build stealth warships armed with supersonic anti-ship missiles, a move analysts see as part of the island's measures to counter the planned launch of the mainland's first aircraft carrier.
Reports that the People's Liberation Army Navy plans to launch the carrier this year have unnerved governments in the region, including Taiwan's. The mainland has been refurbishing the Varyag - a Soviet-era aircraft carrier obtained from Ukraine in 1998 - in Dalian since 2002.
The island's military said yesterday it had stepped up measures to cope with the PLA's naval build-up.
'The defence ministry has closely monitored the building of the carrier and has a comprehensive understanding of its construction, which we feel would pose a threat to us,' ministry spokesman David Lo said. 'For this, we have prudently mapped out relevant measures to cope with such a situation.'
He declined to reveal details of the measures but military experts said they included plans to build 10 corvettes, each of which would be equipped with eight home-grown Hsiung-feng III supersonic anti-ship missiles and eight Hsiung-feng II anti-ship missiles.
Taiwan's deputy defence minister, Lin Yu-pao, acknowledged last week that the island's military would start constructing a prototype of the stealth warship next year, with completion scheduled for 2014.