Monday, February 01, 2010

ROC Navy maintains the unidentified object not Chinese submarine

There is nothing to see here, move along, move along.

Navy maintains the unidentified object not Chinese submarine
Commander says the object does not dive rapidly to escape detection, but continues on its course
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
Page 2
2010-02-02 12:00 AM

The Navy said yesterday the unidentified object spotted under water near its top base last week was not a Chinese submarine or a sea mammal.

A newspaper reported Sunday that an anti-submarine helicopter found a submarine within Taiwanese territorial waters near the naval base of Tsoying during military maneuvers on Jan. 27. As soon as the Navy called on the submarine to identify itself, it fled out of the area without responding, leading to suspicions it came from China, the reports said.

The Navy denied the report, saying sonar showed up an unidentified object which could not have been a submarine.

Yesterday, 168th Fleet Commander Lee Tung-fang said the object did not dive rapidly to escape detection, but continued on its course at a speed of 2 nautical miles an hour. The data told the Navy that there were no submarines, whales, dolphins or sunken ships involved, Lee said.

The 168th fleet had originally been patrolling off Taiwan's east coast, but was called to the area off Kaohsiung's Tsoying base to participate in anti-submarine drills, he said.

The area in the Taiwan Straits was difficult terrain for finding submarines, the senior officer told reporters. His unit had previous experience with locating underwater objects inside Taiwanese territorial waters which later turned up not to be submarines, according to Lee.

Media reports said top Navy commanders in Taipei were alerted to the discovery and convened at secret command centers to analyze the situation. It took seven hours before the object was ruled out as a submarine, reports said.

Over the past few years, Chinese spy ships have often appeared around Taiwanese waters. Taipei has requested to buy diesel-electric submarines from the United States, but they were not included in a US$6.4 billion weapons package for Taiwan announced by the Obama Administration last Friday.

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