by Raymund F. Antonio
A Japanese maritime expert has aired his concern over the possible impact the deployment of Chinese nuclear-powered submarines would have on the Philippines, citing that it may affect its claim over the West Philippine Sea.
According to Tetsuo Kotani, senior official of the Japan Institute of International Affairs, China has four submarines and these have been deployed from its base in Hainan Island.
“So the South China Sea (WSP) is desirable waters for China to deploy those big nuclear power inside the submarines,” he said.
“This is not only a concern for Japan, this is also a concern for the U.S. allies, including the Philippines,” the Japanese official stressed.
Kotani raised the matter during the recent Maritime Challenges in the Asia Pacific forum held in Makati City, noting that the Chinese submarines could undermine the credibility of U.S.
He explained that the submarines can directly launch attacks on the American continent from underwater.
“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 U.S…The USshould start to think twice before making decision for intervention,” he said.
The Chinese submarines are armed with missiles and estimated to have a range between 7,600 and 8,000 cubic meters.
With this, Kotani said that the Philippines should be mindful of the militarization in the South China Sea.
“I don’t think we can have an international rule for submarine activities because submarines operate in secret,” he said.
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