Israel may help in U.S.-Taiwan sub deal: newspaper

Chris Cockel, The China Post, Washington D.C.

Israeli security officials look likely to endorse a proposal allowing Israel to help the U.S. supply eight diesel-powered submarines to Taiwan, according to a report in the Ha’aretz newspaper.

Under the proposal, next generation Dolphin-class submarines, so far only built in Germany, would be assembled in the U.S. using Israeli know-how and funded by American security assistance to Israel, according to the report. However, Israel’s Defense Ministry Director-General Amos Yaron is quoted by Ha’aretz as describing Israeli involvement in the deal as “nonsense,” and that Israel would not risk “ruining its relations with China.” Israeli assistance hinges on the condition that Israel would not become directly involved in the transaction between the U.S. and Taiwan — worth US$5 bil. – US$6 bil. — and that the deal should not harm Israel-mainland China relations, said the report. The plan, apparently conceived as part of extended talks between U.S. and Israeli navy experts in Mississippi, would enable Israel to double the size of its own submarine fleet, while providing the U.S. with a solution to supplying Taiwan with diesel submarines, not built in the U.S. since the ‘50s. A senior National Security Council official is known to traveled to Israel several times in the past year and to have inspected the Dolphin-class submarine, while the Israeli military is also known to have sent a delegation to Taiwan in the spring to discuss the deal.