Speaking at a press conference on January 14, foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said China “firmly opposes arms sales to Taiwan by any country and military links in any form between any country and Taiwan.”
“We urge the US and other relevant countries to keep in mind the sensitivity and graveness of this issue, earnestly abide by the one-China principle, not to permit relevant enterprises from participating in Taiwan’s Indigenous Defense Submarine (IDS) program in any form, stop having any military links with Taiwan, and prudently and properly handle Taiwan-related issues so as to avoid severely undermining their bilateral relations with China and peace and stability across the Straits,” Hua Chunying said.
China’s foreign ministry addressed the issue after Taiwanese news outlets reported that several international companies expressed their willingness to take part in the program.
The reports said a number of companies from the US, Europe, India and Japan submitted their proposals for the program. Earlier reports from the country indicated that the US state department had approved the transfer of technology which would allow companies to support Taiwan in developing its own submarine.
According to Taiwan News, the country’s defense ministry recently said that construction could start as early as 2019 end while the first boat could be completed by 2025.
Taiwan operates two World War 2 era submarines and two Hai Lung-class (Zwaardvis-class) boats which were delivered to Taiwan from the Netherlands in 1987 and 1988. The US is already supplying Taiwan with Harpoon missiles and heavyweight torpedoes for the newer submarines.
Taiwan’s unification with China is inevitable, Xi Jinping has said as he warned that Beijing reserved the right to use military force to bring it into the fold.
Speaking in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 40th anniversary of a key cross-strait policy statement, the Chinese president described reunification with Taiwan as unavoidable.
China fears that the U.S. is conspiring with Taiwan on its dream to be truly independent, as part of the growing great-power competition between Beijing and Washington. President Trump angered Beijing right after his election by telephoning President Tsai, a direct communication that overturned four decades of diplomatic practice since the 1979 break in relations. Exacerbating the tension, Congress last year unanimously passed the Taiwan Travel Act, which allows senior officials to visit between Taipei and Washington. In a show of both irritation and force, China has stepped up military drills and sent an aircraft carrier and other vessels through the strait. In response, U.S. warships have patrolled the waters off Taiwan. A new crisis "could be triggered by any of the three parties," says Professor Jie Dalei of Peking University, and would be "a losing proposition for all sides."