The Chinese military urged the United States to provide a "thorough and satisfying" explanation for the recent nuclear submarine collision in the South China Sea, the Ministry of National Defense said on Thursday.
On Oct 2, the USS Connecticut, a Seawolf-class nuclear-powered submarine belonging to the US Navy, was reported to have collided with an "unknown object" in the South China Sea. The incident injured 11 crew. The damaged submarine is currently at the US naval base in Guam for assessment and repair.
Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, a ministry spokesman, said the "US should seriously address the concerns of various parties, be responsible and provide a thorough and satisfying explanation of the incident as soon as possible to the international community and countries in the region."
In a previous statement on Oct 19, Tan said the Chinese military expressed "grave concern" over the incident, and demanded an explanation from the US.
"For years, the US military has been dispatching aircraft carriers, strategic bombers, nuclear submarines and other advanced military hardware to the South China Sea to flex muscle and cause trouble under the pretense of the of navigation and flight," he said.
Tan said this was the root cause of the incident, and these actions would inevitably affect navigational safety in the South China Sea, and become a source of concern and anxiety for countries in the area.
The US should stop its close-up reconnaissance around China's islands and adjacent waters in the South China Sea, as well as halt military deployment in the region targeting China, he said. It should also stop conducting so-called "freedom of navigation" missions in the area.
Tan said the US military has deliberately delayed and covered-up the details of the incident. The incident occurred on Oct 2, but a short and ambiguous statement wasn't released until five days later.
This irresponsible, cagey action demonstrates a lack of transparency that can easily lead to misunderstanding and miscalculation, he said. China and other countries in the South China Sea have no choice but to question the details of the incident and US intentions.