Tuesday, November 14, 2006
A Chinese submarine that approached a U.S. navy aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean last month and surfaced within firing range of its torpedoes and missiles before being detected has caused a crisis between the two countries. Despite U.S. efforts to try and improve relations with the Chinese military, last month’s surprise encounter highlighted China's continuing efforts to prepare for a possible future conflict with the United States. The submarine encounter with the USS Kitty Hawk and its battle group caused significant pressure on the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, Admiral William Fallon, who is engaged in an ambitious military exchange program with China.The commander of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet, Admiral Gary Roughead has been in China for an official visit since the weekend and will meet with high level commanders from the Chinese military. The Chinese Song-class diesel-powered attack submarine was detected within seven kilometers of the carrier USS Kitty Hawk and its accompanying warships on Oct. 26, Pentagon officials told the paper, adding that the submarine was equipped with Russian-made wake-homing torpedoes and anti-ship cruise missiles.The surfaced submarine was spotted by a routine surveillance flight by one of the carrier group's planes, the paper reported. The incident will most likely affect the series of exchange programs launched between the United States and the Chinese military.