BEIJING, Oct. 19 – Chinese Defense Spokesperson Senior Colonel Tan Kefei on Tuesday urged the United States to make clarification on the recent collision of the US Navy Submarine USS Connecticut (SSN-22) with an unidentified object during the diving operation in the South China Sea in a written statement released on Oct.19.
According to reports, the collision caused some damage to the USS Connecticut (SSN-22) and some injuries. When being asked to comment on this incident, the Chinese defense spokesperson said that China is seriously concerned about the incident and requests clarification from the US side. "Being the responsible party, the US has the responsibility and obligation to elaborate on the circumstances of the incident," he added.
The spokesperson pointed out that for a long time, the US military has frequently dispatched aircraft carriers, strategic bombers, nuclear submarines and other advanced weapon systems to show muscles and stir up troubles in the South China Sea in the name of "freedom of navigation and overflight", which has seriously threatened regional national security and exacerbated regional tensions. "This is exactly the root cause and harm of this incident," he stressed.
"We believe that the above-mentioned actions of the United States are bound to affect the navigation safety in the South China Sea, bring about serious concern and anxiety among countries along the South China Sea, and pose serious threat and risk to regional peace and stability," the spokesperson said, noting that the US should stop its close-in reconnaissance of the adjacent seas and airspace of China's islands and reefs in the South China Sea and its military deployment against China, and stop the so-called "freedom of navigation" operations in the South China Sea.
"We noticed that the US military deliberately delayed and concealed the details of the incident," the spokesperson continued. The US issued an ambiguous short statement five days after the collision on October 2. “Such irresponsible and secretive practice, lacking transparency, could easily lead to misunderstanding and miscalculation. China and countries around the South China Sea have no choice but to question the truth and the US side’s intention.
The spokesperson also mentioned that recently, the United States, the UK and Australia have recently established a trilateral security partnership to carry out cooperation on nuclear-powered submarine, giving the non-nuclear state Australia access to nuclear material that could be used to make nuclear weapons, which would exclude weapons-grade HEU from necessary supervision, and pose huge nuclear proliferation risk. "This act seriously violates the spirit of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), impacts the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, triggers the arms race, and undermines the construction of Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone in Southeast Asia," said the spokesperson, adding that the possibility of nuclear accidents may also significantly increase, posing great challenges to regional peace and security.
In the end of the written statement, the spokesperson reiterated that China urges the United States to take seriously the concerns of all parties, take a responsible attitude, and give a detailed account of the incident as soon as possible, so as to give a satisfactory explanation to the international community and regional countries.