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Monday, February 1, 2010

Submarine intrusion or navy incompetence

The navy denied a news report Sunday that its anti-submarine helicopters, during a training drill on Jan. 27, had detected a Chinese submarine at an underwater location 24 miles southeast of Taiwan's Zuoying naval base.

Hsia Te-yu, political warfare chief of the Navy Command, explained Jan. 30 that after close observation and verification based on standard operating procedures, the navy concluded that the object was in fact not a submarine.

According to the news report, the vessels involved in the training drill immediately went on alert after they determined that the object was a submarine and that it had not responded to the signals it was sent. The submarine left the area soon after it was spotted, the report said.
The following are excerpts from local media coverage of the issue:
China Times:
The navy said that submarines from non-hostile nations usually notify Taiwan if they plan to pass through Taiwan's territorial waters, or at least they would respond to inquiry signals.

There are two possibilities regarding the Jan. 27 incident -- either the underwater object was a Chinese submarine, or it was some other unimportant object from which there could be no response, the navy said.

It is hoped that what the navy said was true. The worst case scenario would be that it was a Chinese sub and the Taiwan navy was unable to confirm this or to interpret the information it had detected.

United Daily News:
Retired Navy Vice Admiral Lan Ning-li said that it is not worth fussing over whether or not the object was a submarine because one of the missions of submarines is to covertly obtain intelligence.

What would be more worrying is if the sonar operators aboard the Taiwan subs had incorrectly identified what they had detected, Lan said.

Ruling Kuomintang Legislator Lin Yu-fang said that if the unidentified underwater object was a Chinese sub, its motives would be debatable, but added that there would be no need for Taiwan to be too jittery.

If the unidentified object was not a sub, then the navy should clearly report this, Lin said. "Being secretive about the incident will only make things worse," he added.

Liberty Times:
Although President Ma Ying-jeou has promoted reconciliation with China, military sources said China has not reduced its military deployment against Taiwan or its war games that assume Taiwan is an enemy.

More than 1,000 guided and cruise missiles are under production on the Chinese mainland and China surveillance vessels have continued to spy in waters surrounding Taiwan, the sources added.
(source focustaiwan)