I Guess This Is How Diplomacy Works
The Washington Times is reporting today on a November meeting between our Pacific Fleet commander, ADM Roughead, and Chinese military officials soon after a Chinese Song-class diesel submarine surfaced near the USS Kitty Hawk. As near as I can tell, the Chinese were surprised to be asked about it, and responded in a quite... interesting way. Excerpts:
The Chinese responded by claiming the Song-class submarine that surfaced near the USS Kitty Hawk on Oct. 27 was there by accident, and that it did not shadow the warship before making its presence known, the officials said.The story goes on to say the Chinese are against entering into an INCSEA agreement with the U.S., similar to what we had with the Soviets. I expect that this was just a face-saving measure for them, and they'll enventually see that having such an agreement is in their best interest. The fact that the Chinese couldn't seem to agree on a party line indicates to me that there might be a division within the military on the advisability of a more "aggressive" naval posture. It also confirms my suspicion that the submarine didn't intend to surface -- they just screwed up. After all, the Chinese lied about everything else; why tell the truth about "deliberately" surfacing?
Defense officials familiar with reports of closed-door military meetings in Beijing, Shanghai and Zhanjiang privately doubted the Chinese explanations and said it is more likely the Song-class diesel electric submarine was practicing anti-aircraft carrier operations...
... The Chinese told Adm. Roughead that it was a "chance encounter" and that China's military had no intention of stalking the Kitty Hawk. They also said the submarine surfaced deliberately to demonstrate that it had no hostile intent, the officials said.
"The Chinese also claimed they did not want the U.S. Navy to mistake the vessel for a submarine from Taiwan or Korea," one official said. China has a large fleet of submarines that seldom operates so far from China's coast, such as the deep-ocean encounter near Okinawa.
Another explanation from the Chinese military officials was that the submarine surfaced because officials were worried that being detected so close to the carrier would lead to a confrontation.