WASHINGTON, April 7 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy is blocking a submarine export deal with Taiwan, CongressDaily has reported.
The Navy, with a long history of blocking diesel submarine exports, has erected barriers to make the submarines economically unattractive, and perhaps even unfeasible, for Taiwan, CongressDaily said Thursday, citing several former administration officials as its sources.
Last summer, the U.S. Navy billed the Taiwan government $2.5 million to cover the cost of a little-known operation dedicated to helping Taipei close a ground-breaking arms deal to acquire eight American-made diesel submarines, the report said.
But after investing about $8 million since 2001, Taiwan refused to pay, despite Navy warnings in two August 2005 memos that it would shut down its submarine "pre-selection" operation without more money, a move sure to trigger long delays and higher costs.
Taiwan wants to augment its four aging submarines -- two of them World-War II-era boats from U.S. shipyards -- to deter China's rapidly strengthening navy.
But, the U.S.-Taiwan submarine deal has run aground. For its part, Taiwan has failed more than 40 times to appropriate $12 billion for the subs amid a continuing political battle over the costs and need for submarines, as well as fears of provoking China, CongressDaily said.
And in Washington, U.S. Navy officials have played a central role in actively stalling the deal. Their resistance to diesel submarine exports has been tacitly accepted by Pentagon and other administration officials, whose growing indifference has helped to lock the deal in neutral, the report said.