KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan — Taiwan's president launched the island's first domestically made submarine for testing Thursday at a port in Kaohsiung.
The submarine, if successful in its tests, will be a major breakthrough for Taiwan in shipbuilding and design.
“In the past, a domestic-made submarine was considered impossible, but today a submarine designed and built by our countrymen is in front of you,” President Tsai Ing-wen said at the launch ceremony.
“Building a submarine is the concrete realization of our resolution to protect our country. Submarines are an important piece of equipment for the Taiwan navy to develop asymmetric combat power in terms of strategy and tactics,” she said.
The U.S. has been pushing Taiwan to develop asymmetric warfare strategies by investing in smaller and lighter weapons such as the reduced-size submarine.
The process was “torturous,” said Cheng Wen-lon, head of Taiwan's CSBC Corp., which led the construction of the submarine.
“Although we have worked quietly during the past several years, it doesn't mean the process was very smooth,” he said at the ceremony held in CSBC's shipyard.
After seven years of design and construction, the prototype will begin tests in the harbor before heading to the ocean.
The submarine is named Hai Kun after a fish in Chinese mythology called kun with legendary proportions.
It will only be handed over to the military after passing both its harbor and…