SEOUL – Under a sea-fog of strategic ambiguity, Taiwan is building a home-grown fleet of submarines – a build-up involving multiple global players in an effort to bypass China’s de facto arms blockade, and one that poses multiple questions for regional strategists.
Will that hodgepodge of assistance be enough for the island to engineer working, high-spec submarines from scratch? Who is assisting Taiwan, and who is not? Could a similar low-key strategy be used to acquire other arms – or even synchronize Taiwan’s weapons with friendly countries’ systems?
And are submarines a credible game-changer in deterring a potential Chinese cross-strait invasion?
The program comes against a fraught political background in the region.
After ex-US president Donald Trump initiated his term-long push against China, President Xi Jinping responded in kind. While Trump is out of office and Joe Biden is in, cross-Pacific animosity has not slackened.