KAOSHIUNG, Taiwan ( Associated Press) – Taiwan on Friday commissioned new naval mines to add to its defense against huge rival China.
President Tsai Ing-wen presides over a commissioning ceremony for the Navy’s First and Second Mining Operations Squadrons, which will operate ships capable of automatically seeding large numbers of small but powerful mines at high speed without the need for divers .
Such technologies are part of a strategy to deter any potential invasion from China, with its vast army and vast superiority in the number of warplanes, ships and other weapons.
China claims Taiwan as its territory, and has threatened to bring it under its control with frequent military exercises and sending fighter jets and other aircraft to fly near the island if necessary.
The initial order of four ships to be built by Lungteh Shipbuilding is part of a campaign by Tsai to revive the domestic arms industry and reduce Taiwan’s dependence on the United States for defensive weapons. Lungteh also produces missile corvettes, patrol boats and other craft for civilian use for Taiwan’s armed forces and police.
The automated mine laying system was developed by Taiwan’s Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology.
The ships give the Navy “an even stronger force in defending our waters,” Tsai said at the ceremony. His commission “demonstrates the fruits of the indigenous defense industry and shows the world our determination to defend our country,” she said.
Lieutenant Soo Shu-wei of the Second Mining Operations Squadron said the new technology was only intended to “build up our asymmetric combat power”.
“Our goal is to prevent the enemy from approaching our island,” said Sue.