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Sunday, February 28, 2010

China concerned by ASEAN subs

China is concerned by the buildup of ASEAN submarine fleets in seas bordering China, a top Navy official said on Saturday.

According to the Zhongguo Xinwen news agency, Rear Adm. Yin Zhuo said members states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations were seeking to dominate the southern seas and thus posed a threat to China.

"If this continues at the current rate, in several years the ASEAN countries will create powerful naval forces," the admiral said, stressing that "this is naturally becoming a challenge to neighboring countries, including China."

He referred in particular to Vietnam which had signed a contract to buy submarines and started building a submarine base east of the Strait of Malacca between Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

In recent years, some ASEAN countries have been buying modern diesel electric submarines from Russia and other European nations.

In particular, Singapore is buying Vastergotland-class submarines from Sweden, Malaysia has been purchasing Scorpene submarines from France and Italy, while Vietnam signed a contract in 2009 to buy six Project 636 submarines from Russia.