Reports are emerging that a Chinese submarine has crashed near the disputed Taiwan Strait, sparking a major incident.
China has long threatened to make a move for Taiwan, which sees itself as an independent nation despite not being officially recognised by the United Nations, and two days ago Xi Jinping launched military drills in the area as a “stern warning”.
Chinese officials have yet to confirm the crash nor have they confirmed the fate of the passengers on board the submarine.
However, reports claimed that a Type 093 (Shang class) People’s Liberation Army nuclear-powered submarine suffered a major accident, killing everyone aboard the vessel.
Ministry of National Defence (MND) spokesman Sun Li-Fang said no crash had been detected in the Taiwan Strait and that claims of an incident were unsubstantiated social media rumours.
Li-fang added that the MND was closely monitoring “all maritime and aerial activities around the Taiwan Strait.”
The strip of water separating mainland China and the island of Taiwan is one of the planet’s most contested areas.
Following the end of the Chinese Civil War, the defeated nationalists fled to Taiwan as the communists took over the mainland. Since then a complicated relationship has unfolded and the area continues to be a hotbed of geo-political tension.
Last week a division of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) released a video, appearing to show troops storming “sea defences”, in an apparent threat to the self-governing island.
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