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China sub secretly stalked U.S. fleet

By Bill Gertz
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
November 13, 2006


The USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier The USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier  (AFP/Getty Images)

    Additionally, military intelligence officials said Adm. Fallon has restricted U.S. intelligence-gathering activities against China, fearing that disclosure of the activities would upset relations with Beijing.
    The restrictions are hindering efforts to know more about China's military buildup, the officials said.
    "This is a harbinger of a stronger Chinese reaction to America's military presence in East Asia," said Richard Fisher, a Chinese military specialist with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, who called the submarine incident alarming.
    "Given the long range of new Chinese sub-launched anti-ship missiles and those purchased from Russia, this incident is very serious," he said. "It will likely happen again, only because Chinese submarine captains of 40 to 50 new modern submarines entering their navy will want to test their mettle against the 7th Fleet."
    Pentagon intelligence officials say China's military buildup in recent years has produced large numbers of submarines and surface ships, seeking to control larger portions of international waters in Asia, a move U.S. officials fear could restrict the flow of oil from the Middle East to Asia in the future.
    Between 2002 and last year, China built 14 new submarines, including new Song-class vessels and several other types, both diesel- and nuclear-powered.
    Since 1996, when the United States dispatched two aircraft carrier battle groups to waters near Taiwan in a show of force, Beijing also has bought and built weapons designed specifically to attack U.S. aircraft carriers and other warships.
    "The Chinese have made it clear that they understand the importance of the submarine in any kind of offensive or defensive strategy to deal with a military conflict," an intelligence official said recently.
    In late 2004, China dispatched a Han-class submarine to waters near Guam, Taiwan and Japan. Japan's military went on emergency alert after the submarine surfaced in Japanese waters. Beijing apologized for the incursion.
    The Pentagon's latest annual report on Chinese military power stated that China is investing heavily in weapons designed "to interdict, at long ranges, aircraft carrier and expeditionary strike groups that might deploy to the western Pacific."
    It could not be learned whether the U.S. government lodged a protest with China's government over the incident or otherwise raised the matter in official channels.
    
    
    
    
    



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