Taiwan says European countries are helping with submarine project By Reuters

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TAIPEI (Reuters) – European countries are providing aid for Taiwan’s indigenous submarine project, the island’s Defense Ministry said, in a rare admission that the delicate program is not receiving assistance solely from the United States. Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has worked for years to renew its submarine force, part of which dates back to World War II. It is no match for China’s fleet, which includes ships capable of launching nuclear weapons. In 2018, the US government gave the green light for US manufacturers to participate in the program, a move that is seen as helping Taiwan insure major components, although it is unclear which US companies are involved. In a statement Friday night, the Taiwanese Defense Ministry denied a report in the US publication The National Interest, which cited 2019 Taiwanese news reports, that North Korea had discussed helping Taiwan with the submarines. “In the development of our submarines there has never been, there is now and never will be any contact with North Korea; all assistance is provided by major countries in Europe and the United States,” he said, without giving details. European countries are generally wary of allowing arms sales to Taiwan due to fear of angering China, although in 2018 Taiwan said it was speaking with a company based in the British territory of Gibraltar about the design of the new submarine fleet. . Two of Taiwan’s four active submarines were built in the Netherlands in the 1980s, although the country subsequently refused to sell more to the island. France has also sold frigates and fighter jets to Taiwan. Taiwan said last year it was looking to buy equipment from France to upgrade the ships’ missile jamming system. The state-backed CSBC Corporation Taiwan began building the new submarines last year, with the goal of delivering the first of eight planned vessels in 2025. Taiwan’s defense minister said last month that the United States had approved the export of sensitive technology to equip the fleet.

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