Thailand balks at price of Chinese submarines ( Source- Want China Times)

Image credits- USNI
Source- Want China Times

Thailand has decided to postpone the purchase of three S-20 submarines, the export version of the Chinese Type 039A Yuan-class diesel-electric submarine, due to China's asking price, according to the Moscow-based Sputnik News.

The total of US$1 billion requested by China is far too expensive for the Royal Thai Navy to accept, according to its commander, Admiral Na Arreenich. "We fully realize how indispensable the submarine is to our national security," said Arreenich. "At the same time, our navy does not operate any submarines now."

The government must first deal with more pressing matters, he added. "Under the current economic situation, our government must spend more resources to take care of the population," the admiral said. "This is why we must postpone the order of the Chinese submarines and review the entire acquisition plan."

As a member of Japan's Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere during World War II, Thailand previously acquired four Matchanu-class submarines from the Imperial Japanese Navy. In 1951, all of the Matchanu-class submarines were forced to decommission due to the navy's involvement in a failed coup against the Plaek Pibunsongkhram military regime. Since then, Thailand has not operated submarines.

Under the Belt and Road Initiative being pushed by China's president, Xi Jinping, Beijing is promoting the sale of submarines to Thailand to increase its influence in the Southeast Asian state.