Underneath the Radar: Australian Technology and Taiwanese Submarines?
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Lost amidst the hype surrounding the prospects of Australian uranium sales to China, India and Taiwan has been the possibility of indirect Australian involvement in the construction of submarines for Taiwan. With only four ageing submarines currently in service Taiwan is badly in need of reviving its fleet. Although some hawkers canvassed the possibility of the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) exporting its Type 471 Collins submarines to Taiwan in the early 1990s this was never a realistic option. Given Australia's endeavours to maintain positive relations with China, diplomacy deemed arms sales to Taiwan irrational. Yet the story does not end there. It is instead rerouted through the United States. In this study, the Howard government's interest in increasing the intimacy of its defence connections with the US over the past ten years now abrade against its newfound interest in commercial relations with China. Ultimately, what this narrative speaks to is the sometimes delicate nature for governments of the connections between trade and security and in particular the place of arms procurement in this nexus.