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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

China displays nuclear subs in message to U.S.: scholars

Central News Agency

2013/10/28 19:40:27

Taipei, Oct. 28 (CNA) A display of China's first nuclear submarine fleet in state-run media was a show of force targeted mainly at the United States, experts in Taiwan said Monday.

China's message to the U.S. is that it has second-strike capability, said Lin Chong-pin, a former deputy minister of national defense.

Second-strike capability refers to a country's assured ability to respond to a nuclear attack with a nuclear retaliation powerful enough to deter a first strike.

Lin said China will not overplay its hand, in order to avoid strengthening the U.S. anti-China lobby.

Alexander Huang, a former deputy chief of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, said the show of force was meant to be a warning to countries around the Pacific, especially the U.S.

The message is that the Chinese military capability has attained a certain level, Huang said, adding that the submarine fleet could pose a challenge to U.S. forces in the Western Pacific.

Xinhua News Agency released photos Sunday of what appeared to be Xia-class nuclear-armed submarines belonging to China's northern fleet. The Chinese Navy is believed to have eight to 10 of these first-generation nuclear submarines, which are several decades old.

China Central Television also showed footage of the submarines taking part in naval drills.

The second-generation Jin-class vessels -- numbering three to five according to international experts -- have not been introduced in the Chinese media.

(By Scarlett Chai and Jay Chen)

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