Chinese Nuclear-Powered Submarine Surfaces in Taiwan Strait

A Chinese nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine surfaced in the Taiwan Strait on June 18 amid communist China’s escalating aggression in the region.The incident was first reported by Taiwanese media outlets before it was confirmed by Taiwan Defense Minister Wellington Koo. According to the local Liberty Times newspaper, several fishermen from Taiwan’s offshore island of Penghui were catching squid at around 5 a.m. local time on June 18 when they saw a Chinese submarine surface in the waters of the strait.The submarine was spotted west of the strait’s median line, and eventually, according to the outlet, it was escorted away by a Chinese military vessel heading toward China. The fishermen said the submarine never returned underwater before leaving their sight.The Liberty Times also published photos of the submarine taken by the fishermen, which Reuters determined to be a nuclear-armed Jin-class ballistic missile submarine.Mr. Koo told reporters that the military was aware of the situation through its intelligence and reconnaissance operations. He declined to provide more details about the incident.“We must be fully alert to China’s continued military harassment and gray zone threats and must always understand China’s constant salami-slicing attempts to unilaterally change the status quo,” Mr. Koo said. “We won’t be the one provoking, and we call on China not to be a troublemaker.”Related StoriesThe Chinese Communist Party (CCP) deploys military harassment and gray zone tactics intending to force Taiwan into giving up its sovereignty and accepting the Party’s rule. One example is that Beijing has been sending military jets and vessels into the air and waters near Taiwan on a nearly daily basis in the past few years.IntentionWang Ting-yu, a senior legislator for Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party who sits on the parliament’s foreign affairs and national defense committee, said in a video posted on YouTube that there could be several reasons why the Chinese submarine transited the shallow waters of the strait.Taiwan Strait is a narrow body of water separating mainland China from Taiwan. It is 81 miles wide at its narrowest point and relatively shallow, with an average depth of less than 200 feet.First, Mr. Wang suggested that the submarine could have been on its way back to its home port for regularly scheduled maintenance. A second possibility, he said, was that the submarine had experienced a malfunction, meaning that it would have been safer to transit via the Taiwan Strait instead of the alternative path of passing through the rough waters off eastern Taiwan. Third, Mr. Wang said the submarine could have encountered a technical problem that forced it to surface.“Of course, some people say that [the submarine’s action] could have been intended as a threat to intimidate Taiwan. This is also something we cannot rule out,” he said.Mr. Wang also suggested that the Chinese submarine could be a Jin-Class Type 094 vessel, based on photos taken by fishermen. A Jin-class submarine is a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN).China has six operational Jin-class SSBNs, according to the Pentagon’s 2023 report on the Chinese military. Each of the six submarines is equipped to carry up to 12 sea-launched ballistic missiles, such as JL-2 missiles that have a range of about 3,900 nautical miles.“A JIN equipped with the JL-2 would have to operate in the mid-Pacific Ocean in order to threaten targets in the western half of the Continental United States (as well as Hawaii and Alaska) or east of Hawaii in order to threaten targets on the East Coast of the United States,” the report reads.Mei Fu-shin, director of the New York-based Taiwan Security Analysis Center, wrote in a Facebook post that he believes it was unlikely that the Chinese regime intended to intimidate Taiwan with the submarine move; at least, that wouldn’t have been the primary objective.“Nuclear-powered submarines equipped with nuclear-warhead ballistic missiles with a range of thousands of kilometers have no direct military significance for a war across the Taiwan Strait,” Mr. Mei wrote, adding that the Chinese submarine’s move “could be misunderstood by other countries,” leading to a “serious escalation of regional tensions.”New Arms SalesThe incident comes as the Chinese regime puts more pressure on the current administration under Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party, who was sworn into office in May. Days after his inauguration, Beijing launched what it called “punishment” military drills, encircling the island nation for two days.On June 18, the Biden administration approved a new weapons sale worth $360 million to Taiwan. The potential sale includes two different types of drones: 720 Switchblade 300 loitering munition systems and 291 Altius 600M-V systems.Karen Kuo, spokesperson of Taiwan’s Presidential Office, issued a statement thanking Washington, noting that it’s the 15th military sa

Chinese Nuclear-Powered Submarine Surfaces in Taiwan Strait

.

A Chinese nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine surfaced in the Taiwan Strait on June 18 amid communist China’s escalating aggression in the region.

The incident was first reported by Taiwanese media outlets before it was confirmed by Taiwan Defense Minister Wellington Koo. According to the local Liberty Times newspaper, several fishermen from Taiwan’s offshore island of Penghui were catching squid at around 5 a.m. local time on June 18 when they saw a Chinese submarine surface in the waters of the strait.

The submarine was spotted west of the strait’s median line, and eventually, according to the outlet, it was escorted away by a Chinese military vessel heading toward China. The fishermen said the submarine never returned underwater before leaving their sight.

The Liberty Times also published photos of the submarine taken by the fishermen, which Reuters determined to be a nuclear-armed Jin-class ballistic missile submarine.

Mr. Koo told reporters that the military was aware of the situation through its intelligence and reconnaissance operations. He declined to provide more details about the incident.
“We must be fully alert to China’s continued military harassment and gray zone threats and must always understand China’s constant salami-slicing attempts to unilaterally change the status quo,” Mr. Koo said. “We won’t be the one provoking, and we call on China not to be a troublemaker.”

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) deploys military harassment and gray zone tactics intending to force Taiwan into giving up its sovereignty and accepting the Party’s rule. One example is that Beijing has been sending military jets and vessels into the air and waters near Taiwan on a nearly daily basis in the past few years.
.

Intention

Wang Ting-yu, a senior legislator for Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party who sits on the parliament’s foreign affairs and national defense committee, said in a video posted on YouTube that there could be several reasons why the Chinese submarine transited the shallow waters of the strait.

Taiwan Strait is a narrow body of water separating mainland China from Taiwan. It is 81 miles wide at its narrowest point and relatively shallow, with an average depth of less than 200 feet.

First, Mr. Wang suggested that the submarine could have been on its way back to its home port for regularly scheduled maintenance. A second possibility, he said, was that the submarine had experienced a malfunction, meaning that it would have been safer to transit via the Taiwan Strait instead of the alternative path of passing through the rough waters off eastern Taiwan. Third, Mr. Wang said the submarine could have encountered a technical problem that forced it to surface.

“Of course, some people say that [the submarine’s action] could have been intended as a threat to intimidate Taiwan. This is also something we cannot rule out,” he said.

Mr. Wang also suggested that the Chinese submarine could be a Jin-Class Type 094 vessel, based on photos taken by fishermen. A Jin-class submarine is a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN).

China has six operational Jin-class SSBNs, according to the Pentagon’s 2023 report on the Chinese military. Each of the six submarines is equipped to carry up to 12 sea-launched ballistic missiles, such as JL-2 missiles that have a range of about 3,900 nautical miles.

“A JIN equipped with the JL-2 would have to operate in the mid-Pacific Ocean in order to threaten targets in the western half of the Continental United States (as well as Hawaii and Alaska) or east of Hawaii in order to threaten targets on the East Coast of the United States,” the report reads.

Mei Fu-shin, director of the New York-based Taiwan Security Analysis Center, wrote in a Facebook post that he believes it was unlikely that the Chinese regime intended to intimidate Taiwan with the submarine move; at least, that wouldn’t have been the primary objective.
“Nuclear-powered submarines equipped with nuclear-warhead ballistic missiles with a range of thousands of kilometers have no direct military significance for a war across the Taiwan Strait,” Mr. Mei wrote, adding that the Chinese submarine’s move “could be misunderstood by other countries,” leading to a “serious escalation of regional tensions.”
.

New Arms Sales

The incident comes as the Chinese regime puts more pressure on the current administration under Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party, who was sworn into office in May. Days after his inauguration, Beijing launched what it called “punishment” military drills, encircling the island nation for two days.
On June 18, the Biden administration approved a new weapons sale worth $360 million to Taiwan. The potential sale includes two different types of drones: 720 Switchblade 300 loitering munition systems and 291 Altius 600M-V systems.
Karen Kuo, spokesperson of Taiwan’s Presidential Office, issued a statement thanking Washington, noting that it’s the 15th military sale to Taiwan by the Biden administration since 2021.

“Taiwan will continue to strengthen our self-defense capabilities and asymmetric defense capabilities, enhance our deterrence capabilities, staunchly defend our constitutional system of freedom and democracy, and work alongside like-minded countries to maintain the rules-based international order,” Ms. Kuo said.

While the United States broke off diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979 in favor of communist China, it’s the island’s biggest arms supplier.

Reuters contributed to this report.

.