Taiwan remains vigilant after Chinese nuclear submarine surfacing in Taiwan Strait News
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Taiwan remains vigilant after Chinese nuclear submarine surfacing in Taiwan Strait

Taiwan’s national defense minister, Wellington Koo, confirmed Tuesday that the government remains vigilant and has the necessary means to monitor the situation in the Taiwan Strait after photographs appeared online of a Chinese nuclear submarine surfacing near the island.

Taiwanese media published photographs of the surfaced submarine taken early Tuesday morning by local fishermen. The craft, suspected to be a Jin-class nuclear ballistic missile submarine, was photographed off the Penghu or Pescadores islands, approximately 200km (125 miles) off Taiwan’s western coast. Fishermen reported that a Chinese People’s Liberation Army naval ship escorted the vessel back toward China.

When asked about the submarine, Koo said that Taiwan has the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance means, but declined to disclose details about the monitoring of the situation.

The Taiwan Strait is a narrow channel that saperates Taiwan from the Chinese mainland. It is a source of frequent tension.

This incident follows after last month China surrounded Taiwan with navy vessels and aircraft as part of two days of military procedures, centred on “joint sea-air combat-readiness patrol, joint seizure of comprehensive battlefield control, and joint precision strikes on strategic targets.” A Chinese defence spokesperson said in a statement that the drills were “completely reasonable, legal and necessary” in order to “crack down on the arrogance of ‘Taiwan independence’ and deter the interference and intervention of external forces.”

China has continuously claimed sovereignty over Taiwan and regarded the island as a “breakaway province.” In December 2023, Chinese President Xi Jinping stated that China is committed to reunification, having sworn to seize the island by any means necessary. On the other hand, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the current ruling party of the island, is committed to maintaining the status quo. Together with the newly elected president Lai Ching-te, the DPP is considered a separatist and “troublemaker” in the view of the Chinese government.

These events are the latest in a series of Chinese military manoeuvres that have prompted Taiwan to maintain strict vigilance.