Saying he would do “whatever it takes” to defend Taiwan, President Bush in April 2001 announced he would provide Taiwan eight diesel submarines (at their expense). A surprise element in the arms package, the promise of these boats suggested a significant escalation of capabilities for Taiwan, and thus greater American determination to defend that island. Taiwan was eager to acquire subs; it only has four left with two reportedly in bad shape. There are reports that Taiwan offered to help build the fifth and sixth boat (assuming they could get to observe construction of the first four) and build the last two themselves. No one mentioned when or how the U.S. would deliver, or for that matter, what. No one in the White House apparently asked whether the U.S. could, in the apparent eagerness to signal a new policy that differentiated President Bush from his predecessor. So where is that promise?
PacNet #48B – Where are the Subs for Taiwan?
November 27, 2003