New Chinese Sub Base

China’s new naval base triggers US concerns

China’s new underground nuclear submarine base close to vital sea lanes in Southeast Asia has raised US concerns, with experts calling for a shoring up of alliances in the region to check Beijing’s growing military clout.

The base’s existence on the southern tip of Hainan Island was confirmed for the first time by high resolution satellite images, according to Jane’s Intelligence Review, a respected defence periodical, this month.

It could hold up to 20 submarines, including a new type of nuclear ballistic missile submarine, and future Chinese aircraft carrier battle groups, posing a challenge to longstanding US military dominance in Asia.

It’s clear that the Chinese are focusing on submarines to counter our overwhelming surface and naval air capabilities. As in wars past, we may find ourselves unable to cope very well.

Chinese Yaun Submarine

Chinese ‘Yaun’-class submarine. Possibly an AIP-powered Kilo? See Strategy Page for more.

An idea floated is to counter Chinese expansion by leasing F-16s and warships to the Philippines as part of a larger regional deterrence policy. That could make sense, but I hope such a move wouldn’t mean we don’t expand our ASW capabilities. It probably would.