Chinese Nuke Sub Surfaces Near Taiwan

World | June 18, 2024, Tuesday // 13:41|  views

A Chinese nuclear submarine has been spotted surfacing in the Taiwan Strait, according to reports from Taipei. Taiwan's defense minister confirmed today that authorities are closely monitoring the situation after images of a surfaced Chinese nuclear-powered submarine near Taiwanese fishing vessels circulated online, as reported by Reuters.

The Taiwan Strait, a narrow waterway separating Taiwan from mainland China, is frequently a focal point of tensions. Chinese military aircraft and ships are regularly observed in the area as part of Beijing's efforts to assert its territorial claims over the democratic island.

Photographs released by Taiwanese media depict the surfaced submarine, identified as a Jing-class vessel equipped with nuclear-powered ballistic missiles. The images were captured by a Taiwanese fishing boat in the strait early today, approximately 200km off Taiwan's western coast.

Defense Minister Wellington Ku acknowledged awareness of the situation but declined to elaborate on Taipei's monitoring methods or provide further specifics. The Chinese defense ministry has not yet responded to requests for comment.

Nuclear submarines are capable of prolonged underwater operations, and the covert nature of ballistic missile submarines means they typically avoid surfacing, notes Reuters.

According to a security source familiar with the incident, the submarine is believed to be returning from a mission in the South China Sea to its home base in Qingdao. The source suggested a malfunction may have compelled the submarine to surface unexpectedly.

Strategically, the waters southwest of Taiwan, where the relatively shallow Taiwan Strait deepens significantly, are conducive for submarine operations and have become a focal point for military activities involving China, Taiwan, and the United States.

While ballistic missile submarines are designed for launching missiles at land targets rather than engaging in ship-to-ship combat, Taiwan has recently voiced concerns about China's use of "gray zone" tactics, including provocative actions short of direct military engagement, such as aerial surveillance operations over the island.

Over the past day, Taiwan reported intercepting 20 Chinese military aircraft and monitoring seven vessels in the vicinity of the island, according to updates from Taiwan's Ministry of Defense on Chinese military activities.

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Tags: submarine, Chinese, Taiwan

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