Isolated and threatened, Taiwan boosts domestic arms makers

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, left, inspects on a Kidd-class destroyer during a navy exercise in the northeastern port of Su'ao in Yilan County, Taiwan. (Military News Agency via AP)
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, left, inspects on a Kidd-class destroyer during a navy exercise in the northeastern port of Su'ao in Yilan County, Taiwan. (Military News Agency via AP)

Taiwan is seeking to build up its domestic defence industry in the face of China's threats and the reluctance of foreign arms suppliers to provide it with planes, ships, submarines and other hardware to defend its 23 million people.

Read: China holds live-fire drills off coast in warning to Taiwan

While the US — which is legally bound to respond to threats to Taiwan — is its main arms supplier, Taiwan is increasingly looking to replace those sporadic deals with domestic production that is not only reliable but occupies the leading edge of new technology.

The self-reliance policy has been strongly promoted by pro-independence President Tsai Ing-wen, whose government has been shunned by Beijing since shortly after she took office more than two years ago.

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