Taipei: Taiwan on Thursday unveiled its first-ever domestically built submarine. The island democracy’s leader hailed the accomplishment as a significant milestone as Taipei works to boost its military deterrence in the face of growing threat from Beijing, CNN reported.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen presided over a ceremony at the submarine’s shipyard in southern Kaohsiung City where the diesel-electric vessel was officially named “Narwhal” in English and “Hai Kun” in Mandarin – which can be loosely translated as “sea monster”.

“The submarine is an important realization of our concrete commitment to defending our country. It is also important equipment for our naval forces in developing asymmetric warfare strategies,” Tsai said.

“In the past, many people thought building an indigenous submarine would be an impossible task. But we have made it,” she added, as per CNN.

The ceremony was a significant personal moment for Tsai, who launched a flagship defence policy to build the first domestic submarine shortly after taking office in 2016.

Taiwanese defence chiefs hope the submarines would help to make it far harder for a potential invasion by China, which claims the island as its territory and has ramped up its sabre-rattling in recent years.

Journalists were given a tour inside the submarine’s shipyard but were not allowed to take close-up photos for security reasons.

Details about the ship’s size or capability were also not disclosed during the ceremony, which was also attended by Sandra Oudkirk, Washington’s de facto ambassador to Taiwan, as well as the representatives from the Japanese and South Korean missions in Taipei.

Tsai said the indigenous submarine project was “a top priority” of her administration, as per CNN.