Taiwan has unveiled its first domestically-made submarine as it bolsters its defences.

President Tsai Ing-wen presided over the launch ceremony in the port city of Kaohsiung on Thursday.

Taiwan is a self-governing island which China regards as a renegade province.

Most observers believe China will not attack the island imminently, and Beijing has said it seeks peaceful "reunification" with Taiwan.

But at the same time it has warned against Taiwan formally declaring independence and any foreign support. It has increasingly sought to put pressure on the island with its military drills in the Taiwan Strait, including several conducted this month.

"History will forever remember this day," said Ms Tsai as she stood in front of the towering submarine draped in the emblem of Taiwan's flag.

She added that the idea of a domestically made submarine had previously been considered "an impossible task… but we did it".

The $1.54bn (£1.27bn) diesel-electric powered submarine will undergo several tests and will be delivered to the navy by the end of 2024, according to military officials.

It has been named the Haikun after a mythical massive fish that can also fly, which appears in classic literature.

Another one is currently in production. Taiwan aims to eventually operate a fleet of 10 submarines - including two older Dutch-made boats - and equip them with missiles.

The head of the domestic submarine programme Admiral Huang Shu-kuang told reporters last week that the goal was to fend off any attempt from China of encircle Taiwan for an invasion or impose a naval blockade.

It would also buy time until US and Japan forces arrive to aid Taiwan's defence, he added.

Building their own submarines has long been a key priority for Taiwan's leaders, but the programme accelerated under Ms Tsai who has revved up military spending to nearly double its budget during her tenure.

China has yet to respond officially. But in a piece published earlier this week, state media outlet Global Times said Taiwan was "daydreaming" and the plan was "just an illusion".

It also claimed China's military "has already constructed a multidimensional anti-submarine network all around the island".

Observers agree that the new submarines could help boost Taiwan's defence.

Taiwan's 10-submarine fleet would pale in comparison to China's, said to currently comprise more than 60 boats including nuclear-powered attack submarines, with more on the way. (Extract from BBC)