Why isn't Taiwan buying submarines from Japan?

China warns France against arms deal with Taiwan

Because Taiwan wants to equip six French frigates in its fleet with a new missile deflection system, Beijing threatens Paris with negative consequences for bilateral relations.

Because of the island state of Taiwan, which the People's Republic of China still regards as a "breakaway territory", Beijing is now also taking on France: A planned arms deal between Paris and Taipei should not be carried out, the Beijing Foreign Office said on Wednesday. Taiwan was part of it China, a principle that every country in the world has to observe, therefore one cannot sell arms to Taiwan without asking.

Taiwan (around 24 million inhabitants) sees itself as the successor to the "Republic of China" founded on the mainland in 1912 after the end of the monarchy and was recognized as such by most states for a long time after the establishment of the Communist People's Republic in 1949. Taiwan-China also had a seat on the UN Security Council, but had to give way from the UN and give way to communist China in 1971. Taiwan recognizes only a dozen mostly small or insignificant states as representatives of China, most recently Guatemala, Paraguay, Haiti, Tuvalu and the Vatican state.

The USA has long recognized the People's Republic instead of Taiwan as the state and legal embodiment of China, but it is still a protective power of Taiwan. Since Washington was and is heavily involved in building, equipping and maintaining the Taiwanese armed forces, this traditionally and frequently leads to diplomatic conflicts with Beijing.

La Fayette class ships

This time, however, Beijing's anger is directed against France because it is about increasing the combat value of several warships of the Taiwanese fleet originating there: Specifically, about the six light frigates of the "La Fayette" class, which operate in Taiwan as the "Kang Ding" class Bought in the early 1990s. The ships have a displacement of around 3200 tons each empty, a crew of around 150, a main cannon and anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems.

In April, Taiwan announced that it wanted to equip the six frigates with a new system: This is not about weapons in the narrowest sense, but about the "Dagaie" self-protection system. These are launchers from the French manufacturer Lacroix for disruptive bodies with which approaching radar - or infrared guided anti-ship missiles are to be deflected, and Taiwan now wants the current variant.

Taiwan's navy ultimately consisted of four active destroyers, 22 frigates, 31 missile-armed speedboats and two to four submarines, all together a fraction of the Navy of the People's Republic in the north. There it was stressed that Paris had to call off business with Taiwan in order not to damage relations with China. Taiwan's Ministry of Defense said that existing ships were only being technically adapted to the current circumstances.

Noticeable activity by the Chinese

In the recent past there have been noticeably intense movements of Chinese warships and aircraft near Taiwan, but also near Japan and in the South China Sea. The current weakness of the U.S. Navy in the Western Pacific, which currently has fewer ships in action there than usual due to the corona.

(Reuters / Greber)