A JAPANESE maritime expert warned the Philippines of four nuclear capable Chinese submarines that have been deployed in the South China Sea for nuclear deterrent patrols within the year.
Japan Institute of International Affairs senior official Tetsuo Kotani said China has secretly deployed four nuclear submarines in the disputed waters.
“Japan is concerned about Chinese submarine program in the South China Sea, particularly the strategic ballistic missile submarine program facing Hainan,” Kotani said in his presentation during the Maritime Challenges in the Asia Pacific forum at Discovery Primea Hotel, Makati City.
Citing a Pentagon report revealing that those submarines are expected to start the nuclear deterrent patrols within this year, Kotani said such action may undermine the credibility of US deterrent nuclear umbrella.
“So this is not only a concern for Japan, this is also a concern for the US allies including the Philippines,” Kotani said. “If China successfully deploys sea-based nuclear deterrent in the South China Sea, it might undermine the credibility of US deterrent nuclear umbrella.”
Kotani said the deployment of nuclear capable submarines may affect the Philippines’ claim over the West Philippine Sea as the US, its long-time ally, could not come to the aid of the country since the submarine can target and reach the American continent.
“For example between Japan and China we have the Senkaku issue, and you have South China Sea issue, if China makes reactions, we expect your support. If china can hit directly the United States from under water, US should start to think twice before making decision for intervention,” he said.
“We can’t ignore the militarization in South China Sea,” he said, lamenting that there is no international rule for any submarine activities in the sea. “I don’t think we can have an international rule for submarine activities because submarines operate in secret.”
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