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Navy Wraps up Week-long Sub Talks (30 Jul 2002)

The navy has just completed a talks with its US counterpart on the purchase of eight diesel-powered submarines from the US, defense sources said yesterday.

The two sides reached an agreement in the week of talks on what type of submarine that the US will provide to Taiwan.

The US delegation initially tried to persuade the Taiwan navy to accept Israeli-built submarines, but it insisted on submarines designed and manufactured by Germany, which was accepted by the US.

The US delegation, led by Navy International Programs Department Deputy Director Captain Gibson LeBoeuf, was composed of seven members from different branches of the navy. Some were members of a submarine task force specially assembled by the US navy to handle the submarine deal.

The delegation, though not high in rank, was received by top leaders of the navy here, including Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Miao Yun-ching

A naval official, who had access to information about the talks, said that while the two sides have reached some agreements, some differences remain.

For instance, the US navy has asked us to pay a `pre-phase cost' of over US$10 million. We asked them to provide details about what the `pre-phase cost' is to be used for.

The navy leaders are not happy about the US request for the `pre-phase' cost. They are worried that the money could be used inappropriately without their knowledge. If that is the case, they might be involved in a scandal of some sort.

The navy had tried to ask Minister of National Defense Tang Yao-ming to make the decision on their behalf. But Tang turned down their request, saying the navy should have the authority to make the decision for itself.

The navy leaders are in a dilemma: if they decide to pay the `pre-phase' cost to the US, they have to take full responsibility for the decision, but if not, they also have to take responsibility for any possible twists in the submarine deal.