North Korea attempted to sell air-independent propulsion (AIP) technology meant for non-nuclear submarines to Taiwan, according to Taiwanese media.
A Taiwanese trading company that frequently dealt with North Korea received a "mandate" from the country’s national defense commission. It also received documents on "shark-class and salmon-class" subs, Taiwan’s UP media reported Tuesday.
North Korea told the firm it was willing to sell its AIP marine propulsion technology that enables non-nuclear submarines to operate without access to atmospheric oxygen.
“North Koreans made the proposition three years ago (2016),” the report quoted an anonymous source as saying.
A Taiwanese submarine expert had even visited the Chinese border city of Dandong to meet with North Korean representatives, but the deal did not move forward because of sanctions, the report stated further.
“Taiwan’s purchase of North Korean submarine technology is highly unlikely,” Radio Free Asia quoted Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies located in Washington as saying.
The country is expected to complete designs on a new submarine by March 2020 and finish its first submarine by 2025. The goal is to build a fleet of eight submarines.