Taiwan bolsters defences with minelaying ships
- New vessels designed to lay small, powerful mines at high speed
- Technology part of efforts to fend off attack from the mainland
Beijing claims Taiwan as its own territory, and has stepped up its threat to bring it under its control by force if necessary with frequent military exercises and by dispatching fighter jets and other planes to fly near the island.
The initial order of four ships manufactured by Lungteh Shipbuilding is part of a drive by Tsai to revitalise the domestic arms industry and reduce Taiwan’s dependence on chief ally the United States for defensive weapons.
Lungteh also produces missile corvettes, patrol boats and other craft for the Taiwanese armed forces and police, along with ones for civilian use.
The automatic mine laying system was developed by Taiwan’s Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology.
The ships give the navy “even stronger power in protecting our waters,” Tsai said at the ceremony. Their commissioning “demonstrated the fruits of the indigenous defence industry and showed the world our determination to defend our country”, she said.
Lt. Hsu Shu-wei of the Second Mining Operations Squadron said the purpose of the new technology was simply to “build up our asymmetric warfare power”.
“Our target is to deter the enemy from getting on our island,” Hsu said.