China has voiced concern about a recent incident involving a US nuclear submarine in the South China Sea, urging Washington to explain the accident and its purpose of cruising in the international waters in detail.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Zhao Lijian expressed concern on Friday, days after the US nuclear attack submarine hit an unknown underwater object in the South China Sea, during which multiple sailors were injured.
“China is very concerned about this incident. The United States and other countries involved must provide information on relevant details, including the exact location of the incident, the purpose of this mission, details of the object of the collision, and whether there was any radiation leakage or other environmental damage,” Lijian said.
He said the US was being “irresponsible” and “not transparent” and was trying to cover the incident up by delaying the publication of information about it.
On October 2, the submarine USS Connecticut collided with an unknown object while operating in the South China Sea, the US Pacific Fleet Public Affairs Office said on Thursday.
The Fleet said the submarine was in a “safe and stable condition” and its “nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational.”
A US defense official told USNI News that some 11 sailors had suffered moderate to minor injuries. The submarine is now headed to Guam on the surface and is expected to pull in within the next day, the official added.
According to the CNN, the USS Connecticut had been in the area as ships from countries including the US, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Japan sought to demonstrate their military prowess.
The accident happened amid rising tensions between the US and China over Beijing’s most recent show of air power near Chinese Taipei.
China claims the South China Sea in its entirety. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei have overlapping claims to parts of the sea. The US and its allies side with Beijing’s rival claimants in the maritime disputes in the South China Sea, while China has always warned the US against military activities in the waters.
Beijing says potential close military encounters between the air and naval forces of the two countries in the region may cause accidents.
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