Taiwan plans to build diesel-electric submarines for its navy, president, Ma Ying-jeou, said Sunday.
Ma made the remark during a visit to a propeller factory in the southern county of Pingtung, where he was urged to address the problem of a brain drain in Taiwan's shipbuilding industry, Want China Times reported.
In response to a question, Ma said Taiwan does not need nuclear-powered submarines as that type of craft is unsuitable for the country's surrounding waters, but it does need diesel-electric submarines and has decided to build them itself. It has the capability and technical means to build its own submarine, he added.
Taiwan in a dispute with China which claims the island nation as a part of its own. Though heavily armed for a country of its size and population, Taiwan is lagging behind China in terms of naval power.
It current submarine fleet consists of two vessels purchased from the Netherlands in the 1980s. China has reportedly prevailed upon the Netherlands not to deliver a follow-on order of two more submarines.