Experts Encourage U.S. Support for Taiwan’s Indigenous Submarine Program
By JAMES PETERSON, Special Correspondent
WASHINGTON — Analysts emphasized the need for indigenously built submarines in Taiwan, and for the United States to support the process, during a June 22 Hudson Institute event in Washington. The panel also focused on the risk China plays on Taiwan’s security.
Stephen Bryen, senior fellow at the American Center for Democracy, a Washington think tank, encouraged U.S. support of Taiwan’s submarine program as a means to quicken the process. He said that with help, the submarines could take six-to-eight years build, instead of 20 if Taiwan had to go it alone.
“The only country, I think, that is willing to give that help is the United States,” Bryen said. “And the only country that can benefit most from it is the United States. So, it’s in our best interest to do this, but we need to show absolute leadership.”
Craig Hooper, senior analyst at Gryphon Scientific, said while he doesn’t believe the threat China presents to Taiwan is “insurmountable,” it remains one of Taiwan’s biggest concerns.
“In the maritime domain, the People’s Liberation Army Navy [PLAN] threat to Taiwan is very real,” Hooper said. “But with a disciplined strategy-minded application of even modest resources, the PLAN threat to Taiwan is manageable. Submarines and other undersea vehicles may be a viable part of a comprehensive solution.”
The panelists agreed Taiwan’s current submarines are all past their prime. Bryen went as far as to call one of them “a museum piece, at best.”
However, modernization of Taiwan’s boats takes time, which puts the security of its people at risk, according to Bryen. Even then, he believes the country needs more submarines to protect its citizens.
“The idea of an indigenous submarine,” Bryen said, “is probably the only practical way that Taiwan is going to get enough submarines to be able to be credible with submarines in the area.”