Monday, October 25, 2010

New Chinese subs raise questions

After years of little activity in the Chinese navy with regards to submarines, an increasing incidence of pictures of and reports about new types of subs could be a sign of China’s growing assertiveness

Recent media interest about new types of submarines being developed by the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) could provide important clues about China’s naval capabilities and intentions, a specialist on China said in a recent article.

“Whereas the development and deployment of the Chinese navy’s surface fleet have been prominently displayed in unprecedented scale in recent naval exercises both in the South and East China Sea, the expansion of China’s subsurface fleet appears to have been slowed in recent years,” Russell Hsiao, editor of the China Brief, a publication of the US-based Jamestown Foundation, wrote in the publication’s latest edition.

From 2007 until this year, he said, the total number of submarines deployed in the PLAN was steady, rising by a single vessel, to 63, Hsiao wrote.

While the scope of the PLAN’s development remained to be seen and would depend on tested capabilities rather than media photos and speculation, the increased incidence of reports on new submarines could nevertheless provided important clues about Beijing’s strategic outlook, he said.

This story, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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