The Buzz

How to Stop China from Someday Invading Taiwan? Submarines.

In 2017, Republic of China Navy Chief of Staff Lee Tsung-hsiao announced his country would develop and manufacture a fleet of eight submarines in the 1,200 to 3,000 ton class. Starting in 2016, Taiwan allocated $99 million over four years to cover development costs for the submarines. However, Taiwan cannot reasonably develop all of the necessary technologies involved within a reasonable time frame. In 2017, Defense News reported that Taiwan was struggling with five key technologies, including periscopes and torpedo tubes, and experts believed foreign technology would ultimately be necessary to make the eight submarines a reality. The first submarines are hoped to be ready for service by 2027.

A small, scrappy force of eight Taiwanese submarines would be a powerful deterrent to Chinese military action and a inducement for both sides to settle the China question peacefully. Whether or not Taipei can ultimately built that force is open to question, as Chinese economic, political and military power stifles Taiwan’s ability to defend itself—even in peacetime. In the meantime, Taiwan’s relative weakness against China’s military power only grows.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.

Image: Wikimedia Commons