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Taiwan Monitors Chinese Submarine in Taiwan Strait


Taiwan’s defence minister announced on Tuesday that they have a “grasp” of the situation following the appearance of a Chinese nuclear submarine in the Taiwan Strait. Photos of the submarine surfaced online, showing it near Taiwanese fishermen.

Increased Tensions In Taiwan Strait

The Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan from China, is often a source of tension. Chinese warplanes and warships frequently operate there as part of Beijing’s efforts to assert its sovereignty claims over Taiwan. Taiwanese media published photos of what appeared to be a nuclear-armed Jin class ballistic missile submarine, taken by a Taiwanese fishing boat at dawn on Tuesday. The submarine was spotted about 200 km (125 miles) from Taiwan’s western coast.

Defence Minister’s Statement

When asked about the submarine, Taiwan Defence Minister Wellington Koo confirmed they have a “grasp” of the intelligence situation but did not provide details on how they are monitoring it. China’s defence ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

Possible Malfunction

Nuclear-powered submarines can operate under water for extended periods and are known for their secretive missions. A security source familiar with the situation suggested that the submarine was likely returning to its home port in Qingdao from the South China Sea. The source, speaking anonymously, mentioned that the submarine might have surfaced due to a malfunction.

Strategic Waters And Military Presence

Military experts note that the waters off Taiwan’s southwestern shores, where the Taiwan Strait deepens, are strategic for military operations. These waters are crucial for China, Taiwan and the United States. Although ballistic missile submarines are designed to launch missiles at land targets rather than attack ships, their presence in these waters is significant.

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Taiwan’s fleet of P-3C Orion anti-submarine aircraft, based at the Pingtung air base in southern Taiwan, has easy access to the southern part of the strait. Taiwan has reported increased Chinese military activities in recent years, including grey zone warfare tactics like flying surveillance balloons over the island.

Call For Vigilance

Defence Minister Koo emphasised the importance of being alert to China’s military harassment and grey zone threats. He called for calm and urged China not to provoke or be a troublemaker. Koo stressed the need for Taiwan to be vigilant without panic.

In the past 24 hours, Taiwan detected 20 Chinese military planes and seven vessels around the island, according to Taiwan’s defence ministry.

With inputs from Reuters