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The self-ruling island of Taiwan has added a domestically built submarine, the first of its kind, to its military deterrence against a possible invasion by China.
Haikun, which translates to “mythical sea creature,” was launched by President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday into the harbor of Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s southern port city, where testing on its seaworthiness will be carried out in the following weeks.
The construction of the submarine is crucial to Taiwan’s security against China, which claims Taiwan as its own. “The submarine is an important realization of our concrete commitment in defending our country,” Tsai said. “It is also important equipment for our naval forces in developing asymmetric warfare strategies.”
For Tsai, who shortly after assuming office in 2016 introduced a hallmark military strategy to construct the first indigenous submarine, the event was a crucial occasion in her personal life.“In the past, many people thought building an indigenous submarine would be an impossible task. But we have made it,” she added.
If all goes well, the first submarine should be ready for delivery by the end of 2024, with a second planned for completion by 2027. Taiwan will now have a total of three fleets of submarines; the other two were Dutch-made in the 1980s.