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President vows to build sound self-defense capabilities

2017/12/01 16:23:41

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文)

Taipei, Dec. 1 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) reiterated her resolve at a military ceremony Friday to build strong self-defense capabilities for Taiwan.

"Building a capable self-defense will make our army and nation even stronger," Tsai said when presiding over a ceremony at Pingtung Airbase to mark the commissioning of 12 P-3C Orion maritime surveillance planes and the decommissioning of the fleet of 11 S-2T Trackers.

The 12 P-3Cs, acquired from the United States at a cost of US$1.9 billion in 2007, will replace the aging S-2T anti-submarine aircraft that have been in service for more than 40 years and are expected to boost Taiwan's anti-submarine capabilities, according to the base.

Seen as playing an essential role in anti-submarine warfare and in defending Taiwan against China, the aircraft are equipped with torpedoes and depth bombs designed to sink fast, deep-diving nuclear submarines and high-performance surface ships.

Tsai said the new fleet could help the country counter the threat of submarines and gain naval supremacy in safeguarding the country.

The president also praised a project to produce advanced jet fighter training planes as part of its effort to develop an indigenous defense industry.

In April this year, the Ministry of National Defense kicked off the NT$68.6 billion (US$2.29 billion) program that aims to build 66 locally developed advanced jet trainers by 2026, with the first one slated to roll out in 2020.

"The plan of building locally developed advanced jet trainers has been faring smoothly and will be carried out as scheduled, with the first completed jet trainer to take off in 2020," Tsai said.

"As the commander in chief of the national army, it is my unwavering mission to build a strong and capable army," she said, noting that the government is still intent on building submarines in Taiwan despite recent frustrations, referring to a scandal related to a local contractor who was to build minesweepers for the Navy.

(By Fan Cheng-hsiang and Flor Wang)
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