Taiwan navy adds two new warships as China tensions grow

President Tsai Ing-wen vowed on Nov. 8 that Taiwan would not “concede one step” in defending itself as she inaugurated two frigates bought from the US aimed at boosting the island’s naval capabilities against China threats. (File/AFP/Chris Stowers)
Updated 08 November 2018
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Taiwan navy adds two new warships as China tensions grow

  • Beijing still claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification
  • China has also been incensed by recent warming ties between Washington and Taipei

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan: Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen vowed Thursday that the island would not “concede one step” in defending itself as she inaugurated two frigates bought from the United States aimed at boosting Taipei’s naval capabilities against China.
Rival China has upped military drills including a live fire exercise in the Taiwan Strait in April, declaring its willingness to confront the island’s “independence forces.”
Beijing still claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, even though the two sides have been ruled separately since 1949 after a civil war.
China has also been incensed by recent warming ties between Washington and Taipei, including the US State Department’s approval of a preliminary license to sell submarine technology to the island.
The two Perry-class guided missile frigates were officially commissioned in a ceremony at Zuoying base in southern Kaohsiung city.
“We want to send a clear and firm message from Taiwanese people to the international community that we will not concede one step in defending... Taiwan and protecting our free and democratic way of life,” Tsai said after inspecting the ships.
China’s “military actions in the region not only attempt to weaken Taiwan’s sovereignty but will also damage regional peace and stability,” Tsai warned Thursday.
She vowed to continue enhancing the navy’s capabilities as part of the military’s goal to maintain what it calls “solid defense and multi-layered deterrence” to guard the island.
Navy chief of staff Vice Admiral Lee Chung-hsiao had said previously the warships’ anti-submarine capabilities are more advanced than the island’s existing eight Cheng Kung-class frigates and could have “deterrent effects” against China’s submarines.
The ships will be deployed to patrol the Taiwan Strait, the narrow waterway that separates the island and China, according to the navy.
Beijing has stepped up diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan since Tsai took office two years ago, as her government refuses to acknowledge that Taiwan is part of “one China,” unlike the government of her Beijing-friendly predecessor.
In September, Washington irked Beijing when it announced plans to sell Taiwan $330 million in spare parts for several aircraft.
Washington remains Taipei’s most powerful unofficial ally and its main arms supplier despite switching diplomatic recognition to Beijing in 1979.
Built in the 1980s, the two frigates were originally named USS Taylor and USS Gary and were part of a $1.8 billion US arms deal to Taiwan announced in 2015 under the administration of US president Barack Obama.
They have been renamed Ming Chuan and Feng Chia.
According to Taiwan’s navy, the warships have “high mobility, high sea resistance and low noise” and are fitted with the SQR-19 sonar system currently used by US navy.


Pakistan summons US envoy to protest Trump’s Bin Laden remarks

Updated 42 min 54 sec ago
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Pakistan summons US envoy to protest Trump’s Bin Laden remarks

  • ‘Of course, we should have captured Osama Bin Laden long before we did’
  • ‘I pointed him out in my book just BEFORE the attack on the World Trade Center’

WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday summoned the US Chargé d’Affaires in Islamabad to protest against remarks made by President Donald Trump who has criticized Pakistan’s role in fighting terrorism fight and the capture of Osama bin Laden.
“The Foreign Secretary called in the US CdA Ambassador Paul Jones to register a strong protest on the unwarranted and unsubstantiated allegations made against Pakistan,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
President Donald Trump repeated on Monday that Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, killed by US Navy SEALs in May 2011, should have been captured much earlier, casting blame on his predecessors and Pakistan.
“Of course, we should have captured Osama Bin Laden long before we did,” the US president tweeted, echoing remarks he gave to “Fox News Sunday” that drew the ire of Pakistan, where bin Laden had been hiding.
“I pointed him out in my book just BEFORE the attack on the World Trade Center,” he continued.
“President Clinton famously missed his shot. We paid Pakistan Billions of Dollars & they never told us he was living there. Fools!”
Ten years after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, bin Laden was found to be hiding in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, where he was killed in a raid by US Navy SEALs approved by Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.
The assault sent relations between the wayward allies to a new low.
In his interview on Sunday, the Republican leader had said he canceled assistance worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Pakistan earlier this year because “they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us.”
Trump had also told Fox News that bin Laden had lived “beautifully in Pakistan and what I guess in what they considered a nice mansion. I don’t know, I’ve seen nicer.”
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan hit back at Trump’s claim, calling on the president to name an ally that has sacrificed more against militancy.
“Pakistan suffered 75,000 casualties in this war & over $123 bn was lost to economy. US ‘aid’ was a minuscule $20 bn,” Khan tweeted.
Robert O’Neill, a former Navy SEAL who claims to have fired the shots that killed bin Laden, was terse in his reply.
“The mission to get bin Laden was bipartisan. We all wanted to get him as soon as we could,” tweeted O’Neill, who regularly appears on Fox News as a security expert.
Former director of national intelligence James Clapper was more direct in his criticism of Trump.
“It’s really a slam at the intelligence community, who was responsible for tracking down Osama bin Laden, and reflects, I think, his complete ignorance about what that took,” Clapper told CNN.
Former CIA director John Brennan also hit back at Trump’s remark.
“You constantly remind us how substantively shallow & dishonest you are on so many fronts, which is why we are in such dangerous times,” he wrote on Twitter, quoting Trump’s tweet about bin Laden.