Taiwan investigating accusation submarine programme details leaked

TAIPEI (Reuters): Taiwan prosecutors said on Monday they are investigating accusations that people tried to interfere in the island's submarine programme and that details about it were leaked, in what would be a serious breach of security.

Taiwan unveiled its first domestically developed submarine on Thursday, a major step in a project aimed at strengthening the island's defence and deterrence against the Chinese navy, though it won't enter service for two years.

Huang Shu-kuang, who is leading the program, told local media last week that lawmakers, whom he did not name, had made it difficult for the program to purchase critical equipment, and that a contractor who had failed to obtain a bid forwarded information to China.

Taiwan's Supreme Prosecutors Office, in a short statement, said Huang's accusations had attracted "great attention" given the national security and defence implications.

It said it had instructed prosecutors to "investigate the case as soon as possible in order to safeguard national security".

It did not give details or names.

Taiwan, which China views as its own territory, has made the indigenous submarine program a key part of an ambitious project to modernise its armed forces as Beijing stages almost daily military exercises to assert its sovereignty claims.

The submarine program has drawn on expertise and technology from several countries - a breakthrough for diplomatically isolated Taiwan. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard. Editing by Gerry Doyle) - Reuters

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