Taiwan has officially announced the start of construction of its domestically built submarines during a ceremony in the southern port city of Kaohsiung.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and de facto US ambassador in Taiwan Brent Christensen attended the ceremony.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC (Taiwan) said in a tweet: “The #MadeInTaiwan submarine programme is on course and running at flank speed.

“Commitment, sacrifice and self-belief are critical in defending the country’s sovereignty and democratic way of life.”

The Ministry of National Defense reached an agreement with CSBC and National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology in March 2017.

The following year the US Government expressed support to the Taiwanese national submarine construction project by approving the participation of American firms.

CSBC Corporation stated that it plans to deliver the first prototype of the eight vessels in 2024.

Ing-wen tweeted: “Proud to launch our #MadeInTaiwan submarine programme.

“Thanks to everyone who helped us overcome all obstacles, erase all doubts and begin domestic production.

“We are more determined than ever to continue developing our self-defence industries and safeguard our sovereignty and democracy.”

In August this year, Taiwan launched its first rapid mine-laying vessel as part of its efforts to bolster the capabilities of the Republic of China Navy (ROC Navy).

The first-in-class ship is domestically built and was launched at an event at Lung Teh shipyard in Yilan County.