The Chinese Foreign Ministry has expressed concern over an incident in the South China Sea in which a US submarine collided with an “unknown” object, which caused major damage and injured several sailors.
On Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian spoke to the United States to clarify details of the USS ‘Connecticut’, a Seawolf-class nuclear-powered submarine that hit an unidentified object during immersion in the South China Sea on October 2.
Zhao requested that the United States confirm the specific location of the accident, the ship’s intentions and more information about the collision itself, including whether it caused the leak of nuclear material. The spokesman also asked if the submarine had damaged the local marine environment.
He said China and its neighbors had the right to ask Washington about the incident and seek the truth. “The United States has deliberately delayed and concealed the details of the accident, which shows irresponsibility and lack of transparency,” said the spokesman to the media.
Zhao said the main reason for the incident was the US insistence on sailing through Beijing, which is alleged to be the South China Sea under the banner of shipping.
He also raised the recent US-UK agreement with Australia, under the AUKUS pact, to supply nuclear-powered boats to Canberra on the basis of strengthening cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
Zhao said Beijing was worried that the move would create even more nuclear proliferation and accident risks in the region, while threatening “Develop a gun race” and “Undermining the construction of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in Southeast Asia.”
On Thursday, the US Navy reported that ‘Connecticut’ went to the US outpost in Guam after hitting a “unknown” objects in the South China Sea.
“The submarine remains in safe and stable condition,” Navy Pacific Fleet sa in a statement. “USS Connecticut’s nuclear power plant and facilities were not affected and remain fully operational.”
Some crew members were injured, although none were considered life-threatening.