Thai gov't approves purchase of $393M submarine from China

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Thailand's top defense official says the government has approved the purchase of its first submarine in more than half a century, calling the $393 million deal with China necessary and a bargain.

Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said Tuesday that the navy's purchase of a Yuan Class S26T submarine would be conducted transparently, responding to concerns about corruption. He said the vessel would be delivered in five to six years.

Thailand's navy has been seeking to buy submarines for almost a decade, having decommissioned its last one in 1951. The military government had said it also considered buying the vessels from Germany or South Korea, but last year announced plans to buy three from China at a total price of around $1 billion.