Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said today, April 5th, that the China-made submarine purchase deal would go on despite Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O’Cha’s raising issues about engines.
This followed the PM’s statement on Monday, April 4th, saying that The Thai Royal Navy would not purchase submarines and would cancel the contract with China if the engine was not the MTU396 diesel engine from Germany specified in the contract.
He insisted the Navy complete the purchase of submarines under the conditions that it must be in accordance with the agreement. If not, he said that the committee would have to review and amend the contract to seek solutions.
He said: “If it didn’t work, then why would we take it? If it didn’t come with an engine, then why was the government going to buy a submarine without an engine? If it wasn’t like it said in the signed contract, then we had to find out how to do it. Everything had to be solved like this, right?”
According to the purchase contract in 2017 between the Royal Thai Navy and China Shipbuilding & Offshore International, the Chinese-made Yuan Class S26T submarine worth 13.5 billion baht must have MTU396 diesel engines from Germany’s Motor and Turbine Union company. The first submarine was expected to arrive in Thailand in 2024.
However, the German company had halted its engines exports to China due to the country’s use for military purposes.
As of Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said that the purchase plan would continue as both China and Thailand would seek a mutual solution.
When asked about the engine problem, Prawit briefly replied: “There was an engine issue, but it was exaggerated as to its severity. It should be no problem.”
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