Navy denies Chinese sub spotted off south Taiwan
The China Post news staffKAOHSIUNG, Taiwan -- The R.O.C Navy denied yesterday a media report that the nation's naval battleships detected a suspected Chinese submarine off southwestern Taiwan during a military exercise on Jan. 27.
February 1, 2010, 9:22 am TWN
Quoting unnamed sources, the United Evening News reported that the submarine belonging to China was spotted at an area 24 nautical miles or 45 kilometers off the Zuoying naval base in Kaohsiung City, last Wednesday morning.
According to the report, the submarine was first discovered by one of the navy's anti-sub S-70C helicopters, but the submarine was allowed to leave later on.
Taiwan's surface naval vessels, out on a training drill, went immediately on alert after determining the underwater object was a submarine that failed to respond to signals beamed at it. The submarine left the area soon after it was spotted, the report said.
The Ministry of National Defense declined to comment on the new report.
The incident took place when President Ma Ying-jeou was on a visit to Latin American nations, and only days before the United States (U.S.) government announced a decision to offer Taiwan the sale of US$6.4 billion worth of military hardware.
The sources said the incident was reported to the Presidental Office and the National Security Council
Hsia Teh-yu, chief of political warfare at the R.O.C Navy Command, clarified that there were often unidentified objects under the surface of detected within the nation's territorial waters.
But headquarters of the nation's naval fleets concluded that the target was in fact not a submarine.
“Otherwise deep-sea charges would have been dropped and other actions taken to either force it to the surface or confine it to a fixed area,” Hsia added.
Hsia said many factors could have influenced naval personnel's ability to identify the underwater object, including its depth, the contour of the sea bed, sunken ships lying at the bottom of the ocean, and movements of schools of fish.
A statement of the naval fleet command issued in yesterday evening said the underwater object mentioned in the news report was tracked and analyzed in details and it was excluded as a submarine.
The routine naval training operations were resumed soon after the conclusion was reached, according to the statement.
The statement also stressed that the nation's naval crews as well as battleships and airplanes have maintained constant alert on possible military threats and stuck to the standard operation procedure in dealing with such cases.