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China demands clarification on US Navy nuclear-sub incident

In this image released by the US Navy, The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) departs Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton for deployment in Bremerton, Washington on May 27, 2021. (LT. MACK JAMIESON / US NAVY / AFP)

BEIJING – China said on Tuesday it is gravely concerned over the recent incident of the US Navy nuclear submarine USS Connecticut in the South China Sea and demanded that the United States provide full details, according to a Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

Spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks at a daily news briefing when asked to comment on the incident. 

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Pointing out that the US has so far only given a brief and vague statement on the incident, he said such an irresponsible, cagey practice gives regional countries and the international community every reason to question the truth and the intention of the US.

The US has frequently sent a large number of military vessels and aircraft to the South China Sea to provoke trouble and show off its force.

Zhao Lijian, Spokesperson, Foreign Ministry, China 

Zhao stressed that for a long time, the US has stirred up trouble in the South China Sea under the pretext of "freedom of navigation", posing serious threats and major risks to regional peace and stability.

"China and other littoral states of the South China Sea have good reasons to ask the United States to answer these questions: "What was USS Connecticut up to do secretively in the South China Sea this time? What exactly did the submarine hit? Why did that collision happen? Did it cause a nuclear leak and bring nuclear pollution to the environment?" the spokesperson said.

He added that the US has a responsibility and obligation to respond to the concerns and doubts of regional countries and the international community.

Zhao stressed that the South China Sea is the common home of the countries in the region and should not become a hunting ground for the US to pursue its geopolitical interests.

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"The US has frequently sent a large number of military vessels and aircraft to the South China Sea to provoke trouble and show off its force. Such moves have undermined the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea and threatened the sovereignty and security of China and other regional countries, making the United States the biggest force for militarization of the South China Sea," said the spokesperson.

The US should change its course, stop these wrong actions and play a positive role in promoting peace and stability in the South China Sea, he added.