China vs. Taiwan: Could Submarines Hold the Key to Stopping Beijing?

Taiwan’s surface navy is in no position to contest the South China Sea with the People’s Liberation Army Navy.

The National Interest
Date: July 12, 2020
By:  Mark Episkopos

Key Point: Taiwan has a long and difficult road to naval modernization ahead.

Taipei and Beijing are seemingly sliding into an escalatory spiral amid a flurry of veiled threats and accusations.

Just last week, China’s defense minister invoked Abraham Lincoln to justify the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) increasingly aggressive reunification policy:  “American friends told me that Abraham Lincoln was the greatest American president because he led the country to victory in the Civil War and prevented the secession of the U.S. The U.S. is indivisible, so is China. China must be and will be reunified.” Meanwhile, Taiwan’s government  called on China to “ repent” on the coming 30th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

Much of the media coverage of the ongoing Taiwan-China dispute is focused on the international repercussions of another Taiwan crisis; more specifically, on how Washington would react to Chinese military aggression against Taiwan.

But what are Taiwan’s military capabilities, and does Taiwan stand a chance of repelling a prospective Chinese invasion? The National Interest previously looked at the Taiwanese air force (ROCAF). We now turn to Taiwan’s navy.

As a maritime nation embroiled in a serious military dispute with a larger neighbor, Taiwan’s navy (ROCN) is unique for their nearly utter lack of a submarine force. Taiwan’s submarine roster consists of one US-purchased Hai Shih submarine, the last of the WWII-era Tench-class line to remain in service in 2019, and a handful of Dutch-made Hai Lung submarines procured in the 1980’s.    [FULL  STORY]

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