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Monday, May 27, 2024

Taiwan probes claims of submarine program data leak

Prosecutors have launched an inquiry into allegations that information about its newest vessel was leaked to Beijing

Taiwanese prosecutors are investigating allegations that information about its first domestically produced submarine was leaked to Beijing. The vessel in question, named ‘Hai Kun’ in Chinese and ‘Narwhal’ in English, was unveiled on Thursday.

The inquiry was opened after Indigenous Defense Submarine program chief Huang Shu-kuang told the media that a contractor that had failed to secure the bid had leaked the information about the project to Beijing. Huang also alleged that unnamed Taiwanese legislators had made it “difficult” to procure critical equipment.

Read more: Beijing sanctions two US defence companies over Taiwan arms sales

Huang’s comments caused outrage in Taipei, with the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office announcing a probe into the matter. It said on Monday that the allegations had attracted “great attention” and that prosecutors were instructed to “investigate the case as soon as possible to safeguard national security.”

The submarine, which is set to join Taiwan’s fleet in 2025, is an attempt to bolster the island’s navy amid rising tensions with mainland China, which views Taiwan as its territory. The Taiwanese Defense Ministry recently reported “abnormal” activity of Chinese military aircraft and warships around the island.

Beijing, meanwhile, has accused “separatists in Taipei of escalation. “If a conflict breaks out, the island’s submarines will be easily detected and dealt with by the PLA,” state-run newspaper the Global Times reported last month, referring to the People’s Liberation Army.

Beijing has also condemned the sale of US weapons to Taiwan, arguing that such deals violate the one-China policy. Washington insists that military aid ensures Taipei’s ability to defend itself from a potential invasion.

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