01/03/2023, 14.54
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As Taiwan gets ready to test its new submarine, Beijing responds with a third aircraft carrier

For Taiwan, this is the first of eight domestically built subs. China will soon be able to deploy its new air carrier, the Fujian, in the Taiwan Strait; the vessel is more advanced than the two already in operation. Tensions remain high between the two sides. In 2022 China almost doubled its incursions into Taiwan’s air defence zone.

Taipei (AsiaNews) – Taiwan’s Navy plans to test the first of eight domestically built submarines next September.

The new watercraft will boost the country's defences against China's rapid military modernisation. In fact, Beijing has announced the first sea tests of the Fujian, its third aircraft carrier, in the new year.

Taiwan has four submarines in service that date back to World War II and the 1980s. China has 56, some ultra-modern.

According to the Pentagon, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) operates six nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines (with atomic capability) and as many nuclear-powered attack submarines.

To build its submarines, Taiwan has had to turn to foreign technology, such as, for example, digital sonar systems, integrated combat systems and periscopes from the United States.

China considers Taiwan a rebel province, and has never ruled out taking it by force; however, the island has been de facto independent from the mainland since 1949.

At the time, Chiang Kai-shek's nationalist forces fled the mainland after losing the civil war against the communists. Since then Taiwan has claimed to be the heir to the Republic of China founded in 1912.

The Fujian is qualitatively superior to China's two aircraft carriers (Liaoning and Shandong) and a central asset in case of possible aggression against Taiwan.

According to Admiral Michael Gilday, chief of US naval operations, China could invade Taiwan as early as 2024, not 2027, as previously forecast by the Pentagon.

Under the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States is committed to defending the island.

Adopted in 1979 after the formal diplomatic recognition of communist China, the legislation does not specify the actual nature of Washington's commitment to Taiwan.

The "strategic ambiguity" produces continuous tensions with Beijing.

Communist China has stepped up air and sea incursions around the island after Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, visited Taiwan last August.

AFP reports that China’s incursions into Taiwan’s air defence zone almost doubled in the past year, from 960 in 2021 to  1,727 in 2022, and more than quadrupled in the past two years, from 380 in 2020.

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