|A naval mine blasts near a ship at sea|
The Navy plans to spend NT$35.9 billion (US$1.2 billion) to procure six domestically built minehunting ships over a 12-year period to strengthen the nation’s ability to counter a blockade by China, the draft Ministry of National Defense budget for next year shows.
The program’s budget has yet to obtain final legislative approval, said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), who sits on the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee. Lin said the addition of the minehunters would “significantly enhance” the Navy’s ability to counter a naval blockade, which experts regard as a possible strategy by China to exert pressure on Taipei short of declaring war, or as part of the opening rounds in a military confrontation in the Taiwan Strait.
My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.