Sat, May 03, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Defense ministry unruffled by China sub base report

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of National Defense reacted quietly yesterday to a news report that the Chinese navy had built a nuclear submarine base in Hainan Province, saying it already knew about the base.

“We knew about it six months ago,” ministry spokeswoman Colonel Lisa Chi (池玉蘭) said by telephone yesterday afternoon.

Agence France-Presse reported yesterday that China has built a major underground nuclear submarine base on the southern tip of Hainan. The wire agency quoted the UK’s Daily Telegraph, as saying that Jane’s Intelligence Review had obtained satellite images of the base, the first confirmation of the base’s existence.

The base was said to be able to house a score of nuclear ballistic missile submarines and a host of aircraft carriers.

The Telegraph, which published multiple satellite photos, said one image showed a Chinese 094 nuclear submarine at the base.

Other images show several warships moored on long jetties as well as numerous entrances to what appear to be a network of tunnels. There are reportedly 11 tunnel openings carved into the hillside at the base, with each entrance stretching to a height of about 18m.

Chi said that the ministry had no plans to change its defense policies or implement stricter security mechanisms because of the Hainan base.

“We are fully aware of the Chinese military’s latest developments and shall react accordingly when necessary,” she said.

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