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Explaining the sudden appearance of a Chinese submarine in the Taiwan Strait

Jun 20, 2024

Beijing [China], June 20: Some military experts have just given explanations for a Chinese nuclear-powered submarine carrying ballistic missiles suddenly emerging in the Taiwan Strait.
Some fishermen discovered a Chinese military (PLA) submarine suddenly surfaced in the early morning of June 18, just west of the median line of the Taiwan Strait , away from the Kinmen Islands controlled by Taiwan. controlled about 46 km, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
Soon after, another PLA warship was seen escorting the submarine back to China. The submarine then moved on the water's surface and did not dive, according to some newspapers quoting fishermen.
Taiwan Defense Agency Chief Co Lap Hung said Taiwan's defense forces "have a comprehensive understanding of the situation through relevant intelligence and reconnaissance methods" without providing further details. or speculate about the Chinese navy's intentions. So far, there is no information about the Chinese side's reaction.
Explanation from Taiwanese military experts
Meanwhile, Taiwanese military experts believe that the above submarine is a Type 094 nuclear-powered submarine, based on photos taken by crew members. They believe that the submarine could surface for routine maintenance, have technical problems, change underwater terrain or intentionally show off its power, according to SCMP .
In particular, Mr. Lam Dinh Huu, professor of international relations and strategic studies at Danjiang University in New Taipei City (Taiwan), commented: "Nuclear submarines like the Type 094 have specialized tasks." and often avoid surfacing due to sensitivity and the need for invisibility." However, Mr. Lam did not rule out the possibility that "orientation problems or technical problems caused the submarine to surface."
Mr. Zivon Wang, a military analyst in Taipei, said that the position of the above Chinese submarine showed that it was moving within 12 nautical miles from mainland China's territorial waters. "This may have been a routine transit for mission change or maintenance at the shipyard in Bohai, as it orbited north from its base on the Hainan coast to the south," he said. Wang commented.
Mr. Wang also said that having only one PLA warship escorting the submarine reduced the possibility of technical problems. "Normally, in the event of an incident, additional ships are dispatched to assist."
Targeting the US, Japan, Philippines, Australia?
The rare emergence of a nuclear-powered submarine, which can operate underwater for long periods of time, has raised concerns in Taiwan and raised questions about whether this is another display of Beijing targeting this island or simply a routine transit, according to SCMP .
Taiwanese lawmakers have expressed concern over the question of whether this is an attempt by the PLA to increase military pressure on Taiwan, especially after the PLA conducted exercises in May that simulated blockade of this island.
Senior analyst To Tu Van of the Institute for National Defense and Security Studies, an organization that advises the government in Taipei, said that the appearance of the Type 094 submarine could be understood as a show of force. The force not only targets Taiwan but also targets the US and its allies in the Indo-Pacific region, including Japan, the Philippines and Australia.
Mr. To also said that the decision to surface the Type 094 submarine (with heavy tonnage) could be a preventive measure to avoid the risk of running aground, especially in the shallow waters of the Taiwan Strait. Military experts also believe that because this is the peak of the squid fishing season, surfacing in the area can reduce the risk of submarines getting caught in fishing nets.
The Type 094 submarine, also known as the Jin class, was seen surfacing in the Taiwan Strait in 2021 and 2020, according to SCMP .
China's Jin-class submarines are equipped with JL-2 ballistic missiles with a range of 7,000 km, putting the US mainland within range. The latest version of the submarine, the Type 094A, entered service in April and is said to carry the even more powerful JL-3 ballistic missile, with a range of more than 10,000 km, according to SCMP.
Source: Thanh Nien Newspaper