As tensions between the US and China continue to escalate over Beijing’s territorial claims over the South China Sea, US defense officials told the Washington Free Beacon that a Chinese submarine conducted a simulated cruise missile attack on the US aircraft carrier USS Reagan. The incidence occurred on October 24. And surprisingly, the Obama administration had kept details of the simulated attack under wraps for fear of “upsetting” relations between the US and Chinese militaries.
Chinese submarine violates the CUES 2014
On the weekend of Oct.24, the USS Reagan left the Yokosuka port in Japan, and came in close contact with a Chinese submarine in the Sea of Japan. According to the Free Beacon, it was the closest encounter between a Chinese submersible and an American aircraft carrier in almost a decade. In a simulated targeting exercise, the Chinese sub locked onto the aircraft carrier.
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It is a violation of the multilateral Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) signed in 2014. By simulating a cruise missile attack, China has sent a clear signal that it doesn’t attach much value to the CUES. The multilateral agreement was an effort to prevent accidents or “mishaps.” The agreement states that commanders at sea must avoid “simulation of attacks by aiming guns, missiles, fire control radar, torpedo tubes or other weapons in the direction of vessels or aircraft encountered.”
China can hold the US troops in the region at risk
The US Pacific Command spokesman Captain Darryn James declined to disclose the submarine encounter. Instead, he assured reporters of the US Navy’s capabilities in the Pacific Ocean. However, members of the Capitol Hill have expressed concerns over the reports. Chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on sea power Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., said it is yet another way Beijing is “trying to show us that they can hold our forces in the region at risk.”
The United States sailed a destroyer ship close to the artificial islands built by China in a “freedom of navigation” exercise. Reports of the Chinese submarine’s simulated missile attack come on the heels of China’s anti-satellite tests. Beijing claims control over most of the South China Sea, refusing to recognize overlapping claims by Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan.