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Taiwan Launches First Locally-Built Amphibious Assault Vessel

'Yushan' will reportedly replace the Taiwanese Navy’s ROCS Hsu Hai, a five-decade-old amphibious transport dock purchased from the US in 1999.

Taiwan launched the first of a planned four domestically-produced landing platform docks (LPD) this week.

Manufactured by CSBC Corporation, the 4.6 billion New Taiwan dollar ($162 million) amphibious assault and transport vessel – the Yushan – is fitted with two anti-aircraft missiles, among other weapons, the South China Morning Post reported.

“The launch of the navy’s first 10,000-ton LPD, built in line with our defense needs, represents another milestone for our indigenous shipbuilding program,” Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen stated at a launching ceremony held in the southern port city of Kaohsiung.

The chairman of CSBC Corporation, Cheng Wen-lon, stated that the vessel is expected to go into service next year.

Capacity of 670 Military Personnel

The 153-meter (502 ft.) by 23-meter (75 ft.) vessel can transport 670 military personnel along with “landing craft, helicopters, amphibious assault vehicles, and light and heavy utility vehicles,” the South China Morning Post reported, citing Cheng.

With a range of up to 11,265 kilometers (7,000 miles), the vessel can also be deployed in disaster relief missions and used as a makeshift hospital during natural disasters.

Once commissioned, Yushan will reportedly replace the Taiwanese Navy’s ROCS Hsu Hai, a five-decade-old amphibious transport dock purchased from the US in 1999.

Chinese Media Reaction

Reacting to the launch, China’s state-run news outlet Global Times cited unnamed “experts” as saying that the development will add to the rising tension between Beijing and Taipei.

The outlet further reported that as the island territory was launching its amphibious vessel, “Five People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft entered its self-proclaimed air defense identification zone on Tuesday.”

On Monday, 25 PLA aircraft reportedly crossed Taiwan’s air defense identification zone.

Moreover, the PLA and US navies have sent aircraft carrier strike groups to the South China Sea, and China is staging military drills near Taiwan.

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