China plans nuclear submarines near US coast, miltary bases in South China Sea

The following is based on translations from Chinese media:

So far there has been no news about Chinese nuclear submarine cruising near the US. There has been official confirmation from China that a Chinese nuclear submarine operated in the Indian Ocean for a short period of time.

US nuclear submarine commander Benjamin Person (transliteration from Chinese) recently laughed at China, saying that Chinese nuclear submarines had never been active near the United States. He is happy that his nuclear submarine has been active in the seas near China for a long time.

This qianzhan.com article comments on Person’s words, saying that China obviously lags behind the US, but it has been making great efforts to catch up. China has established a coastal anti-submarine network and improved and upgraded the equipment of its anti-submarine aircraft and warships.

Such efforts will soon effectively deter the activities of US nuclear submarines in the East China Sea but not the South China Sea as the latter is vast in area and complicated under water. However China’s reclamation in key areas in the South China Sea will enable China to set up naval and air bases for anti-submarine aircrafts and warships to contain US nuclear submarines. Therefore, the article believes that US nuclear submarines will not be able to cruise freely in the East and South China Seas for much longer.

The article says that when China’s new nuclear submarines have been commissioned and communication technology improved, Chinese nuclear submarines will be able to operate near the US.

Contributor’s note: My post in early August mentioned Japanese Yumiuri Shimbun’s report that a nuclear submarine of the Chinese navy successfully launched a new-type JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) in the Atlantic Ocean in late July. The missile hit its target in a desert in Xinjiang. That test proves that China’s strategic nuclear submarine can hit anywhere in the United States with its JL-3 SLBMs. Therefore, I believe it is not necessary for a Chinese strategic nuclear submarines to cruise near the US to make American people nervous.

On the other hand, what the qianzhan.com article says about keeping US attack nuclear submarines away from East and South China Seas is in fact senseless. As most major Chinese cities are located near Chinese coast, US attack nuclear submarines can hit those cities with their Tomahawk cruise missiles even if they are not in the seas near China. The missile has a range of 2,800 km. Chinese coast cities remain vulnerable to US attack even if US submarines are not in the East or South China Sea.

China has to make hard efforts to obtain the capabilities of fighting its enemy far away from its coasts to avoid damages to its homeland. That is the common views of Chinese generals.

Source: qianzhan.com “US officer laughs at China’s nuclear submarines that have so far not operated near the US” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
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