Taipei Denies Reports That China's Shang Class Submarine Crashed in Taiwan Strait

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Taiwan has denied rumours about a Chinese nuclear-powered submarine crashing near the self-ruled territory days after China China launched massive military drills near the territory. Various online reports said the Chinese submarine had crashed in the Taiwan Strait, which is a disputed 180-kilometer stretch of ocean that separates mainland China and Taiwan.

China submarine
China submarine Wikimedia Commons

Reports Said All Sailors Died

As per persistent rumours that thrived on social media, a Type 093 Shang class submarine of the Chinese People's Liberation Army had sunk in Taiwan Strait, killing everyone aboard. A user on X claiming to be an investigative journalism platform said Chinese President Xi Jinping was informed about the incident.

However, Taiwanese authorities said on Wednesday that no such incident has taken place. Taiwan's MND spokesman said that Taiwan's intelligence and surveillance agencies did not detect any evidence of a submarine crash.

What is Shang Class Submarine?

The Type 093 submarine is widely known as 'Shang class', which is a reporting name used by NATO. China has as many as six Shang-class submarines, according to the International Institute of Strategic Studies. "While it is not the most common submarine in the Chinese Navy's fleet, it is currently the most potent," the think tank said.

Chinja Military exercise
China is carrying out military exercise in the Taiwan Strait Twitter

The 'Shang class' submarine is a nuclear-powered attack submarine designed by the PLA. The sub, which has a displacement of 6,096 tonnes, is 107 meters long. It is powered by a pressurized water nuclear reactor, and can travel at a speed of 30 knots. It carries weapons like six 553 mm torpedo tubes and the YJ-82 anti-ship cruise missile.

The China-Taiwan tensions escalated last week when Taiwan's deputy leader visited the United States on his way to Paraguay. The Chinese foreign ministry issued a statement saying it opposes any form of visit to the US by what it calls 'Taiwan independence separatists'. China added that the US and the Taiwan authorities planned the high-profile visit in the name of having a 'stopover' so that Lai can engage in political activities in the US.

Taiwan Strait
Taiwan Strait wikimedia commons

The rumors about the sinking of the Chinese submarine emerged even as China launched yet another military drill around the territory. As many as 40 Chinese warplanes crossed Taiwan's air defence zone on Saturday. China said the drills were meant to test PLA's ability to fight in combat conditions. Taipei said the military drills were 'irrational and provocative', adding that 26 Chinese aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait.

This article was first published on August 24, 2023