18 February 2019

China nuclear subs begin sea patrols, report says

China has said its first fleet of nuclear submarines has started sea patrols, in the latest sign of the growing confidence of the country’s military, Financial Times reported on Sunday. The official Xinhua news agency released photographs of what appeared to be Xia-class vessels, China’s first generation of nuclear-armed submarines, saying they were being “declassified” for the first time, the paper noted. The vessels would “gallop to the depths of the ocean” and be an “assassin’s mace that would make adversaries tremble”, according to Xinhua. “It is… the first time that the Xia class has been discussed in such detail in China’s state-run media,” FT quoted Taylor Fravel, an expert on Chinese security at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, as saying. “As China’s military modernisation continues to advance, the PLA has become more willing to discuss its capabilities.”

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