August 16, 2016

Taiwan not serious about Paying Market Prices for Submarines

Taiwan’s 1940s US-built ex-Tench class Hai Shih (foreground) is the world’s oldest serving (but not truly operational) submarine. Taiwan has another 1940s vintage sub. The two ex-Dutch submarines in the background are “new” by comparison. Taiwan wants eight replacements – virtually for free.
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It is beyond doubt that Taiwan relies on a Taiwan Lobby of old American rightwingers and younger paid lobbyists to hopefully pressure the US Government. Taiwanese Cold Warriors hope that the US will return to near conflict with China. China is, however, too important economically to the US, now days. Since the 1970s the US One China policy steadily shifted to the PRC not Taiwan (including the US's weapons' policy).

After WWII the US donated many old Tench and Balao class subs to countries in Latin America, Europe and also Taiwan. After receiving the old US subs, renamed Hai Shih and Hai Bao in 1973,  Taiwan seems to be the only country that still expects such donations from the US. Taiwanese "headlines" like "Establishing a Submarine Development Center" are more a US-Taiwan Lobby lever on the US Government than a Taiwanese intention to foot US$Billions for a whole class of new submarines.

In order to get the Taiwan lobby off his back, in 2001, President George W. Bush made a policy decision he could not keep and never intended to honor. That decision was the US would, by some means, organise the supply of conventional submarines to Taiwan. The central problem, then, as now, is that the US does not build conventional submarines - this is for military, commercial, political and career reasons that are dear to the US.

Tellingly, even in 2001, Taiwan was unwilling to pay market prices to the US or a third country for submarines. Instead Taiwan decided to rely on the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) system. FMS for submarines - large weapons systems the US did not actually produce - was a non-starter from the beginning.

Also Taiwan wanted medium to large conventional submarines. It would not settle for submarines of less than 1,000 tonnes - more than adequate for Taiwan Straits defense against China...

As well as not paying for the submarines Taiwan had and has ludicrous ideas on how to acquire them. These ideas all involve the US taking on the financial, political and technical burdens upfront and presumably for ongoing upgrades. For example potential scenarios like:

-  the US buys old submarines from Australia and custom upgrades them for Taiwan.

-  the US organises for Japan to build the Soryu submarines for Taiwan and then Lockheed Martin
   integrates the US highly secret combat system into the submarines

-  that the US pressures Australia to participate with Taiwan in a joint purchase of Shortfins from
   DCNS

-  that the US assists Taiwan in building a submarine production line (in effective competition against    Japanese, South Korean and European submarine makers)

To achieve this Taiwan expects that the US (not Taiwan):

-  obtains submarine blueprints and organises technology transfer (perhaps from Japan? Russia?
    DCNS? Australia? TKMS?).
-  “clones” or "reverse engineers" more of Taiwan's existing two 1960s technology Dutch built 
     Zwaadvis-class design so the US can help Taiwan build more, 
     and/or
-   the US returns to building conventional submarines, but tailor-made, to Taiwan's specifications.

More details in a subscription-only Diplomat article.

Hence even accepting that China is putting up economic obstacles to any US or third country supply of submarines to Taiwan, Taiwan will still not receive submarines. 

1.  As I've said Taiwan needs to be prepared to pay international prices by contract for submarines. Israel, equally unpopular internationally has managed to organise Germany as a long term provider of TKMS Dolphin submarines. Israel is now reputedly paying full prices - including for maintenance. If Taiwan were serious Taiwan would not be waiting for the US to magically give Taiwan submarines.

2.  Countries also need to be confident any submarine secrets passed to Taiwan do not find their way to China in the medium to long term (in any political settlement with China).

3. There is no way around Taiwan building its own - the smaller (for defense) the easier to do.

Pete

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Taiwan seems to be very serious if the latest information on the development of her indigenous submarine is correct. The total budget of the development is huge 410 and 470 billion TWD (17 and 19billion AUD) according to SANKEI NEWS [1] and Taiwan Today [2], respectively.

[1] http://www.sankei.com/world/news/160804/wor1608040003-n1.html
Taiwan is expecting assistances of Japan. The Vice President of CSBC suggested technology of Oyashio Class or even precedent of Oyashio Class is acceptable.

[2] http://taiwantoday.tw/ct.asp?xItem=246708&ctNode=2229&mp=9

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi S

The Taiwanese plan is not clearly spelled out - particularly in the article in English http://taiwantoday.tw/ct.asp?xItem=246708&ctNode=2229&mp=9 which says:

"In line with this commitment, the Ministry of National Defense announced June 20 that the navy will spend NT$470 billion (US$14.84 billion) between 2018 and 2040 on 12 shipbuilding projects."

So it looks like only a portion (still not published) of Taiwan's shipbuilding budget will go to submarines.

Then "Tsai said she anticipated the first [submarine] would be launched by 2026." is quite vague.

http://www.sankei.com/world/news/160804/wor1608040003-n1.html talks of "...of purchases from the United States " and "6 items are necessary to procure from abroad".

Then on page 2 http://www.sankei.com/world/news/160804/wor1608040003-n2.html "given the pressure of China's parts procurement from overseas was talk that there is a high risk."

So from the above, there seems to be many question marks about how serious Taiwan is - this time.

Regards

Pete

Josh said...


Pete

I think we're in agreement that Taiwan's sub plans are a pipe dream. No one is giving them anything because 1). it would upset China and 2). from a security point of view they might as well just hand the blue prints over to the PLAN. They either build it on their own, which seems unlikely, or they simply do without.


Cheers,
Josh

Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi Pete,
I'm surprised that the US didn't even Help Taiwan build more Barbel-class submarines for them. The US still has the blueprints for the Barbel-class submarine and all the US could have done is give them the design blueprints for the Barbel-class submarine and all Taiwan has to do is build them under US Supervision. Even the two Hai Lung-class submarines that Taiwan has now. I am shocked that they didn't reverse engineer them and started turning out copies of them.

What I think the US Should have done is offer them to build the an updated version of the Barbel-class submarine or give them the Blueprints to build the Barbel-class submarine in Taiwan but under the Supervision of the US Government. It would be the same way the US helped Spain with the S-80 Submarines weight problem. The US can do the same thing for Taiwan. Let them build the updated version of the Barbel-class submarine but under the watch of the US Government.

The other option for Taiwan is that they can always go to Russia and buy an Improved Kilo class SSK or the Amur/Lada class SSK from Russia. Russia has enough clout and pull that it can contain China regardless of what China dose. Even if China protest, Russia has many ways of containing China in the long run. I can see Russia selling Improved Kilo class SSK's to Taiwan because Russia has been pissed at china for reverse engineering Russian made gear such as the Mig-21 and selling cheaper Chinese clones on the market. It could be Russia's way at getting back at china for selling Russian knock-offs.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

The submarine technology transfer from western countries and Japan to Taiwan may be rather difficult under the current situation, but, the tech transfer from India may be possible. I do not think that Russia will strongly disagree with the tech transfer. If Taiwan has new submarines, China will reduce her energy for movement into the Arctic Ocean. The details of submarine budget of Taiwan is not clear, Taiwan obviously has enough money for purchasing the submarine technology.

Regards
S

Ztev Konrad said...

They wouldnt be the first pacific Rim country to announce a long term naval shipbuilding plan, and then do nothing
Thats exactly what Canada did in 2012 with its proposal for two tanker/supply ships first up and then possible replacements for its combat ships.
Since then contracts signed or design teams established? Nothing.

"The boss of Canada's largest shipyard says a $36-billion national shipbuilding plan is becoming an "international embarrassment" with a "bizarre" costing regime and "exorbitant" prices, despite producing no ships to date.
"It's been five years and the two shipyards haven't built a single ship,"
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/davie-shipyard-boss-canada-shipbuilding-plan-bizarre-1.3494460

Autumn Leaf said...

I totally concur with Nicky. Taiwan best bet right now is to obtain the blueprint of their Hai Lung class (which is a mod version of the Zwaardvis-class) which in terms is a mod version of the Barbel class. I would imagine the most feasible way forward for them is for them to build one with US supervision, and a US combat management system from either Lockheed or Raytheon.

see http://www.lockheedmartin.com.au/au/what-we-do/mission-systems---training/systems-integration/undersea-systems-integration.html

I would also think that Taiwan could purchase a couple of old SSK from many countries, including Singapore's Challenger class (the old Swedish A12 Sjoorman class) and reverse engineer them.

Oyashio class is a long shot but also a possible option if the Japanese are willing.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Josh

1. Yes Taiwan's latest announcements about a vast, fast, submarine and surface shipbuilding program appears even less convincing than usual.

In this Taiwanese publication http://taiwantoday.tw/ct.asp?xItem=246708&ctNode=2229&mp=9 Aug 3, 2016, "the Ministry of National Defense announced June 20 that the navy will spend ...US$14.84 billion between 2018 and 2040 on 12 shipbuilding projects.

[This is actually a tiny budget for such an ambitious program. This is given the budget presumably covers production facilities for 8 wholly new submarines and 11 separate classes of surface shipping.]

"During a news conference in the run-up to this year’s [Taiwanese] presidential election, [new Taiwanese President] Tsai said she anticipated the first [submarine] vessel would be launched by 2026." [This crash program to develop a wholly new submarine production line, from no submarine production facilities, may surpass German ambitions in the 1930s-40s and the rush Soviet program under Stalin and Admiral Gorshkov!].

2. In terms of groupings of US secrets likely going to Taiwan AND China is the ongoing case of formerly Taiwanese, Chinese-American Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin.

Intelnews reports April 12, 2016 https://intelnews.org/2016/04/12/01-1884/ reports :

"On Sunday, the US Navy reported the arrest Lt. Cmdr. Edward C. Lin, who faces two counts of espionage and three counts of attempted espionage, among other charges...Lin was a signals intelligence (SIGINT) specialist with the Navy, focusing on the airborne collection of maritime intelligence, mostly in the Pacific Ocean.

"Given that he is a naturalized citizen from Taiwan and speaks fluent Mandarin, it is almost certain that he was tasked with collecting SIGINT from targets in China and Taiwan. If that is so, then the prospect that Lin may have given classified information to Chinese or Taiwanese intelligence officers will be especially unsettling for Washington...."

Taiwan, like Israel, is one of America's friends with a history of spying on America.

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

This US probably refused to dislocate its nuclear submarine production lines, to re-open a line for old Barbel-class submarines for Taiwan. This is particularly true when Taiwan was unwilling to pay market prices. Money can conquer political hesitation if the customer pays enough.

More broadly the whole ethos of arms industries is to advertise and try to sell the latest, shiny gee-wizz weapons. That is “faster, cheaper, easier to maintain” weapons which are actually the opposite - significantly more expensive, more complex and (also in the case of the F-35) slower.

For example minimal-stealth 1950s technology A-4s https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_A-4_Skyhawk over Iraq and Syria would be wholly adequate but now LM is trying to sell the idea that F-35s need to perform over those countries instead.

The US helped Spain (with the S-80) and Australia (with the Collins) for a great deal of money (especially for the Combat System for the Collins).

On Russian Kilos for Taiwan - I think the US would be enthusiastic about Taiwan shifting its attention to Russia. The US has no problems about Vietnam being mainly dependent on Russia for weapons (including Kilo subs). Playing off Russia against China was part of Kissinger’s grand design in the 1970s onwards.

If Russia ever (belatedly) produces AIP for Amur/Ladas (and Kalinas) then Western Governments and Western submarine firms will want to know how much progress Russian designers have made...so some links with Taiwan could be handy, in that respect.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi S [at 17/8/16 8:26 AM]

Yes Japan would need to calculate whether Japanese submarine technology passed to Taiwan might actually be used by Taiwan against Japanese interests. This is especially in cases of territorial competition between Japan and Taiwan eg. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senkaku_Islands_dispute .

Furthermore Japan making the Taiwanese submarine forces more formidable could open up more Japan-Taiwan disputes over fishing, seabed oil/gas and other island strategic positions.

Indian assistance on subs for Taiwan (probably using Russian Kilo technology) might indeed be viable.

While Russia wants to sell some weapons and lots of oil/gas to China I agree Russia is worried about economic and military competition with rising China - particularly in a more accessible (melting) Arctic/Siberia.

Taiwan, indeed, appears to have the economic fundamentals to pay market rates for subs or build subs. I had a look at Taiwan's economy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Taiwan including 8% growth per year over the last 30 years, low inflation, low unemployment. Electronics, IT and armaments are some of its biggest industries. "The economy of Taiwan is ranked 15th overall in the Global Top 20".

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Ztev

Yes, in addition to Taiwan and Canada, I worry Australia might have provided more shipbuilding announcements than actual construction. The 20 year cycles of large shipbuilding projects are far longer than a politician's 3 to 4 year re-election plans - so shipbuilding slips

Canada's and Australia's culture, experience, weapons systems and their problems (and complex dependence on the US) is so similar its scary, and a little depressing.

There is some hope for Australian shipbuilding efficiencies, but, thats in Victoria and Western Australia not in South Australia (where about 80% by shipbuilding tonnage will happen)

Thanks for http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/davie-shipyard-boss-canada-shipbuilding-plan-bizarre-1.3494460 . The $36-billion quoted sounds like costs for the the Future Frigates + Offshore Patrol Vessels (which might mainly end up being built in South Australia).

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete,

I've always wondered why Taiwan doesn't get off it's butt and use decent sized GDP(USD$529.6 - wikipedia) to get some decent stuff. Singapore is a good example of a small nation surrounded by much larger ones, and it allocates a substantial % to have an armed force which is about 70% the size of Australia's!

I know it won't happen, but I feel that if Taiwan offered some big orders to some of the smaller players, like Sweden, they could get some top line hardware, which is perfect of Taiwan. Like Sweden's subs and Gripens (I know, this is a submarine blog,but it's still military). Imagine an order for 200-300 Gripens, and 15-20 Gotland Class subs, or even better, the A26. This sort of money would help overcome any economic pressure China might bring to bear on Sweden, who is probably much more concerned with Russia than China. And Taiwan would not need anymore planes or subs for possibly half a century.

This is just my view. Do you you have any idea why Taiwan allocates so little to it's military?

Adrian

Peter Coates said...

Hi Adrian and Autumn Leaf [at 17/8/16 4:06 PM]

Will reply properly to you tomorrow.

Regards

Pete

Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi Pete,
That's why for Taiwan, they only have two options for Submarines. The first one is to get the Blueprints from the US for the Barbel class Submarines and build them under US supervision. I know Taiwan has the blueprints for the Hai Lung class, which is a version of the Zwaardvis-class and in turn the version of the Barbel class Submarines. All they need to do is secure the Blueprints and build clones of the Hai Lung class submarines & the Barbel class submarines. It would give them a start on Submarine production under US watch.

The other is that Taiwan needs to make a Direct deal with Russia on the Improved Kilo class SSK or the Amur/Lada class SSK. Going to Russia maybe their only option because with Russia, they can easily placate to China and put the Pressure on China. US has no problems with Vietnam buying Kilo class SSK subs from Russia and the US should not have any problems with Taiwan buying submarines from Russia as well. On top of that Russia can easily give Taiwan all the Transfer of Technology and know how on how to build a Submarine. Even though China may protest but China knows that Russia controls what China buys from them and Russia can dictate to China to keep quiet.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Autumn Leaf [at 17/8/16 4:06 PM]

Taiwan building a sub by virtue of Blueprints is totally inadequate. Essential requirements for a medium-large sub Taiwan thinks it needs include:

- A great deal of experience how to build a sub,
- knowledge of industrial processes (eg. the tightly held details of how to form high-stress pressure hull steel).

All requiring 100s to 1000s of foreign submarine and steel technicians.

Need many components, only made in the original sub building countries - or in the case of the Barbel designs many components that have not been made for decades. They've long broken the molds.

US long has been unwilling to supervise because Taiwan seems unwilling to pay top dollar for it and US doesn't want all the inherent "carry Taiwan" political obligations.

"US combat management system from either Lockheed or Raytheon" very sensitive. Risk it will leak to PRC-China too high. China can lean on too many relatives of Taiwanese citizens.

For decades, SSK building and owning countries have been economically and quietly politically dissuaded by China from supplying subs, blueprints and expertise for submarines to Taiwan.

"reverse engineer them" is only open to desperate, already sub building countries prepared to pay far more than outright buying prices.

Japan is particularly sensitive about the details of steel (eg. on Oyahios and Soryus) being leaked to China.

Although Japan, after the submarine alliance with Australia failure, might politically and economically want a submarine alliance with Taiwan. This depends if Taiwan is really anti-China these days...and will still be in 30 years time...

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Adrian [at 17/8/16 7:04 PM]

Re "I've always wondered why Taiwan doesn't get off it's butt and use decent sized GDP(USD$529.6 - wikipedia) to get some decent stuff."

Its important to Taiwan to continue to have overt military and political sponsorship and protection from the US. This would be clearly signalled by big weapons systems (like subs) particularly if they are supplied at cut-rate prices. A historical precedent is the US rushing replacemts parts and ammunition to Israel in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Yes the US is stationing Littoral Combat Ships in Singapore partly because Singapore pays top dollar for US weapons including F-15s.

Sweden sees China as a more lucrative arms market and being small Sweden is more vulnerable to Chinese pressure. So Sweden, like other conventional submarine makers, has not supplied (or helped) Taiwan for decades.

I think the same China pressure dynamic has limited Taiwan replacement fighter options. Also Taiwan may see it as easier, cheaper and more logical to upgrade its existing F-16s with US help.

Yes my blog also does aircraft as I knew a bit about aircraft long before submarines. See my published 2008 article about the F-35 suggesting Australia not invest too much in it beforehand "Don't Buy in Haste" http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=7401

Don't know why Taiwan only spends about US$11 Billion on Defense. https://amti.csis.org/taiwans-defense-spending-the-security-consequences-of-choosing-butter-over-guns/

Perhaps Taiwan (which has a 4 month National Service/Draft system) thinks there's only so much it can do to deter China
AND Taiwan is signaling continuing reliance on US protection.

Regards

Pete

MHalblaub said...

Dear Pete,

Taiwan just needs small submarines to defend an incoming invasion fleet. Such a submarine does not even need reloads e.g. Type 206.

Taiwan would need many submarines and therefor small ones without the need of range. A full electric submarine without Diesel engines could do this. A huge reduction in complexity.

Much more essential than a submarine for submarine warfare is a working torpedo. Even a diver could start a torpedo.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

SPUTNIK reported explosion of S Korean submarine with one killed, two injured and one missing on August/16/2016 [1]. I express condolence for victims, their families and friends. Details of the accident have yet reported.

[1] http://sputniknews.com/asia/20160816/1044307074/blast-south-korea-submarine.html

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky [at 18/8/16 2:09 AM]

On second thoughts Russia is very unlikely to sell subs to Taiwan because maintaining good relations with China is very important to Russia. This is because:

1. China represents a very large market for Russian oil/gas, and

2. China represents a strategic competitor to Russia. They share a border. This is noting the China-Russia border conflict of 1969 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-Soviet_border_conflict

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Cosmos of Italy in 1969 sold the 2 SX-404s (40 ton Special Forces mini-subs) to Taiwan [1].

[1]http://covertshores.blogspot.jp/2011/09/italian-small-submarines-updated.html
“Since before the Second World War, Italy has been a prolific designer and producer of small submarines. The CA and CB-class midget submarines and their operational histories are already well-known, but those produced post-WWII are much less known, poorly documented and the subjects of confusion and misinformation. Fincantieri, Maritalia and Cos.Mo.S. are all known to have produced viable small submarine designs, however only Cos.Mo.S. is known to have definitely produced actual small submarines, albeit all for export.”

Regards

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub [at 18/8/16 7:49 PM]

Yes I also think Taiwan should build small defensive subs. Theg. Type 206 is not in production, of course, but South Korea may be offering the 500 tonne KSS-500A design. S Korea has considered offering a LIB battery only version. See my article http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2015/10/south-korean-hhis-hds-400-small.html on this.

TKMS may also build Type 200 (200 t) and Type 300 minisubs see - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midget_submarine#Turkey

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi S [18/8/16 8:18 PM]

Re http://sputniknews.com/asia/20160816/1044307074/blast-south-korea-submarine.html

The South Korean submarine maintenance explosion is indeed tragic. A build up of explosive grease or oil vapor seems to happen in hull cavities too much in subs. Welding or metal cutting tools sometimes causes the vapor to explode.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [at 18/8/16 11:11 PM]

Its very interesting Taiwan was interested in mini-subs in the 1960s "Cosmos of Italy in 1969 sold the 2 SX-404s (40 ton Special Forces mini-subs) to Taiwan"

It seems odd and counter-productive that Taiwan only seems interested in medium-large subs now.

The Covert Shores article you've provided has much more useful information and excellent illustrations http://covertshores.blogspot.jp/2011/09/italian-small-submarines-updated.html

Thanks

Pete

Josh said...

Pete:

I would argue that truck mounted land based cruise missiles can handle the invasion defensive role much more cheaper and better than a new untrained small submarine force. The role for medium sized SSKs (vice miget subs) would not be for local defense of the island but for counter value deterrence against Chinese shipping and ports. They could act as mine layers and commerce raiders that the Chinese could not easily counter and as such would be about the only long range, offensive system that the ROC could deploy that the PLAN would have any difficulty countering. Vietnam's Kilos fulfill the same role. The questions are whether the ROC wants to pay for such a capability, whether anyone would provide a sufficient boat, and what this says about the ROCs feelings of US security guarantees.

Cheers,
Josh

Peter Coates said...

Hi Josh

Taiwan using land based anti-ship cruise missiles occurred to me as well - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hsiung_Feng_II - its 160km range seems to fit the defense of Taiwan Strait scenario well.

I also concur with your other conclusions.

Regards

Pete

Autumn Leaf said...

Hi Pete,

Latest high level design diagram of what could be an Indigenous built sub:
https://scontent.fper1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/t31.0-8/14047298_523454764516749_3634075707520391771_o.jpg

See the article here: http://www.businesstoday.com.tw/article-content-80392-155255

Peter Coates said...

Hi Autumn Leaf [20/8/16 12:51 AM]

Thanks for https://scontent.fper1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/t31.0-8/14047298_523454764516749_3634075707520391771_o.jpg .

This is not an "Indigenous" design but a German designed TKMS Type 214: see the upper cutaway at http://www.naval.com.br/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/214-212-209.jpg

The German parent company, Thyssen Krupp (TK), owns the 214 design rights. Another complicationg factor is that South Korea's HHI and DSME also build the 214 (after decades of sub building experience) - but with TK's permission, after paying a high licence fee.

Taiwan building legal or illegal knockoffs of the 214 would put Germany and TK/TKMS in trouble with China. And Germany, after all, has a thriving trade supplying MTU vehicle/ship/submarine engines to China - something Germany wouldn't want curtailed.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Lot talk about Taiwan without talking of China.

China will not let anyone selling hudge military order of any kinds and will retaliate economically.

It's why France stopped selling to Taiwan after selling Mirage 2000 and frigates.
It's why Germany or Sweden don't proposed their submarines while Sweden hungrely wanted to sell its A26 submarines.

Only US are strong enought to sell to Taiwan.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous

China's status as almost an enemy of key Western countries (Taiwan, Japan and the US) is implicit. Australia is wary of China but a bit more neutral.

France indeed exported around 60 Mirage 2000s to Taiwan in 1997-98 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dassault_Mirage_2000#Republic_of_China_.28Taiwan.29

Regards

Pete

Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi Pete,
The only reason why Russia is one option is because Putin has a bigger clout than China. Russia can easily get back at China for selling knock-offs of Russia originals. Russia is still pissed that China made knock-offs of the Mig-21 and Russia can get back at China by selling Kilo class SSK's to Taiwan. Also you didn't see china getting all mad when Vietnam brought 6 improved Kilo class SSK's from Russia. So the same logic can be applied to Taiwan as well. Though I think France could easily be pusuaded to help taiwan build submarines in Taiwan. All France has to do is give taiwan the skills and blueprints to build them.