Taiwan unveils a new submarine for defense against China

Taiwan recently unveiled its first submarine built domestically in preparation for a potential Chinese attack.

The launch ceremony will take place in the metropolis of Port Arthur, Texas. Officials from the United States have warned that China may be capable of launching an invasion within the next few years.

The majority of observers believe that China will not attack Taiwan in the near future, and Beijing has stated that it pursues Taiwan's "reunification" through peaceful means. 

However, it has also warned against Taiwan's formal declaration of independence and any foreign support.

It has increased its efforts to exert pressure on the island by conducting military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, including several this month.

Military authorities expect the diesel-electric submarine to be deployed to the navy by 2024 after many testing.

The Haikun was named after a fabled, giant flying fish from Chinese literature. Another is being made. Taiwan plans to launch missiles from ten submarines, including two Dutch-built ones.

Admiral Huang Shu-kuang, chief of the domestic submarine program, told reporters last week that the objective was to thwart any attempt by China to encircle Taiwan for an invasion or impose a naval blockade.

It would also purchase time until US and Japanese forces arrive to aid Taiwan's defense, he noted.

It also asserted that China's military had erected a multidimensional anti-submarine network around the island. Observers concur that the new submarines could assist in bolstering Taiwan's defense.

Taiwan's ten submarines pale in comparison to China's 60-plus, including nuclear-powered attack submarines, and increasing fleet. However, the island has long adopted an asymmetric warfare strategy to build a more agile defense force to fight a larger, better-resourced foe.

The submarines could "help Taiwan's relatively small navy take the initiative against China's mighty navy" by conducting "guerrilla-style warfare with their stealth, lethality, and surprise capabilities," according to William Chung, a Taiwanese military researcher at the Institute of National Defense and Security Research.

Specifically, they could help defend the straits and channels that connect the so-called "first island chain," a network of islands that includes Taiwan, the Philippines, and Japan and is viewed as a potential battlefront in the event of a conflict with China.

Drew Thompson, a visiting senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore and a former US Department of Defense official, noted that the "center of gravity" for any China-Taiwan naval conflict would not likely occur in the deep waters off the island's east coast, where submarines would be most effective.

Adm Huang disclosed to Nikkei Asia that he had personally requested assistance from military contacts in the United States, Japan, South Korea, and India, but did not specify which country had consented.

In recent weeks, China increased its warship presence in the Taiwan Strait and its military aircraft incursions around the island's airspace. US military and intelligence officials have provided differing estimates for the timing of a potential Chinese invasion.

Recent speculation suggests that Chinese President Xi Jinping has instructed his military to be operationally capable of launching an invasion by 2027.

However, CIA director William Burns added that this did not necessarily imply Mr. Xi would decide to invade at that time, as he is believed to have doubts about China's chances of success.