Destabilizing speculation

US nuclear submarine collides with ‘object’ in South China Sea

Joerg Vogelsaenger and Andreas Landwehr

Washington – A US nuclear submarine has collided with an unknown object in the Indo-Pacific region, the US Pacific Fleet said in a statement on Thursday.

There were no fatal injuries on board as a result of the incident, the Navy said, although media, citing the Navy, said two sailors were moderately injured and about nine others had bruises and cuts.

“The nuclear power plant and spaces of the USS Connecticut have not been affected and remain fully operational,” the Navy said. “The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition.”

The extent of damage to the remainder of the Seawolf-class fighter submarine was being determined and the incident was under investigation, he said.

The collision occurred in international waters on Saturday, the navy added, without giving details of the exact location of the incident. According to US media speculation, the incident occurred in the South China Sea and the cause of the collision could have been a sunken ship or a container. The ship is to be inspected at the US Naval Base on the Pacific Island of Guam.

The incident comes at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and China, particularly over the Indo-Pacific region.

Just days ago, Washington expressed “grave concern” over the recent intrusion of Chinese military planes into Taiwan’s air defense identification area, saying it was “destabilizing” and risked being wrong and undermine peace and stability in the region.

China on Friday called on the United States to disclose the exact location and details of the incident as well as the reason for the submarine’s trip, accusing the Western power of intentionally withholding information.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused the United States of “making waves in the South China Sea under the banner of” freedom of navigation, “which was” the source of this accident. ” and threatened peace and stability in the region, he said.

It was also important to clarify whether there had been a nuclear leak and whether the environment had been damaged, he added.

Beijing claims almost all of the South China Sea as its territory. The Hague International Court of Arbitration rejected China’s claims in 2016, but Beijing continues to ignore the ruling.

© 2021 dpa GmbH. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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