Taiwan unveiled its first domestically developed military submarine Thursday, as the democratic, self-governing island ramps up its defenses with anxiety building about the.
"Even if there are risks, and no matter how many challenges there are, Taiwan must take this step and allow theto grow and flourish on our land," Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen said at the unveiling ceremony.
The diesel-electric submarine, called "Haikun," cost $1.5 billion and still needs to undergo further tests before it's deployed. It will be handed over to the Taiwanese navy in 2024, CBS News partner network BBC News reported.
It is the first of eight submarines Taiwan plans to build, according to the Reuters news agency, and will join two others that were purchased from the Netherlands in the 1980s.
China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, considering it a breakaway province to eventually be brought under the control of Beijing.
Tension between Taiwan and Beijing has been high for decades, but recent pledges to bring the island under China's control by President Xi Xinping have led many to believe the possibility of a military conflict is greater now than ever before.
Taiwan has been working, in, to modernize its armed forces in the face of almost daily military exercises by Beijing.
Asked during a weekly briefing whether China felt the new submarine could help Taiwan prevent a naval blockade by Beijing, if China were to try to impose one, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Defense said Taiwan was, "over-rating itself and attempting something impossible," according to the Reuters news agency.
The Haikun will carry U.S.-made Mark 48 heavyweight torpedoes and use a combat system manufactured by U.S. defense industry giant Lockhead Martin.
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