The Royal Thai Navy insists China has to honour an agreement to supply it with a new submarine with a German-made MTU 396 engine, adding the navy will do its best to ensure the procurement is completed.
Since the navy had already insisted the agreement to purchase the S26T Yuan-class submarine being built in China be fulfilled, the rest is China’s responsibility, Adm Tharoengsak Sirisawat, the navy chief of staff, said yesterday.
He said China needs to obtain the exact submarine engine type as stated in the procurement agreement.
Adm Sirisawat was responding to renewed criticism by the opposition against the navy’s submarine purchase after MTU, the German maker of the submarine engine, reportedly refused to sell it to China after learning the engine would be used for a new submarine being sold to a third country.
Asked whether the navy would ever agree to China using a Chinese-made engine instead, he said the navy had stated it must be an MTU 396 engine.
And when asked if the navy would demand a fine be paid or even terminate the agreement in the event China cannot fulfil the terms, Adm Sirisawat said everything was clearly stated in the contract, and the situation was still rectifiable.
However, when pressed on whether it would be possible for the navy to terminate the contract over this matter, Adm Sirisawat said time would tell. If necessary, both the Thai and Chinese sides would have to first discuss how they will resolve the problem, he said.
“Does the navy really want to have a new submarine? Yes, of course. But what kind of submarine do we want? The answer is it must be the one stated in the contract signed by both sides,” he added.
The navy will try its best to ensure the agreement is honoured because a new submarine is needed as part of the navy’s security strategy for the country, he said when asked what the navy would do if China keeps postponing delivery.