Taiwan commissions new fleet of coastguard ships
Taiwan commissioned the first of a new fleet of coastguard ships, an advanced catamaran capable of being armed with missiles during combat, as the island strengthens its defenses in the face of what it sees as an increasing Beijing threat.
President Tsai Ing-wen made the Chinese-claimed island's military modernization a priority. Beijing has never renounced the use of force to take control of Taiwan.
Attending the commissioning of the T$1.05 billion ($37.30 million) domestically generated Anping in the southern city of Kaohsiung, Tsai praised its "specific potential to be used in times of conflict.
“If necessary, it can be immediately be transformed into an important force for defense. This also means that while the coastguard strengthens law enforcement, national defense forces will be strengthened too," said President Tsai Ing-wen.
The Anping is a vessel similar to the Tuo Chiang-class of corvettes on which it is based, and has space for Hsiung Feng anti-ship and sea-to-land missile launchers, but has additional rescue equipment.
The Tuo Chiang vessels are highly maneuverable, state-of-the-art stealth vessels equipped to take out larger warships when operating close to the shores of Taiwan.
The first is already in service, and, due to its missile complement, Taiwan's navy has been referred to as the "aircraft carrier killer." China has two carriers in service and at least one more is being built.
Tsai has promoted the idea of "asymmetric warfare" with Taiwan's armed forces dwarfed by China, including adding arms that are mobile and more difficult to attack, to make any Chinese offensive expensive and difficult.
While the United States remains the most important weapons supplier to Taiwan, Tsai has also boosted the indigenous defense industry of the island, especially the planned construction of eight submarines.
The coast guard of Taiwan is frequently involved in confrontations with Chinese fishing vessels and sand dredging vessels that Taiwan claims are operating illegally in its waters.
Maritime Business World