China Seeks Answers After US Nuclear Submarine Collided With ‘Object’ in South China Sea

Submarine USS Connecticut submarine heading out to the sea, from U.S. Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton in Bremerton, Wash., on May 27, 2021. (Department of Defense via AP)

A U.S. Navy nuclear-powered submarine that was damaged in a collision with an unknown underwater object in the South China Sea last weekend has arrived in port at Guam, the Navy said Friday.

No further details about the circumstances of the collision or the extent of damage to the USS Connecticut were available, but China’s Foreign Ministry expressed “serious concern” about what happened.

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, told reporters Friday that the United States “should clarify in detail the situation of the accident, including the location, the intention of the sailing, details of the accident, such as what exactly it collided with, whether it caused a nuclear leak, and whether it damaged the local marine environment.”

When it disclosed the Oct. 2 accident on Thursday, the U.S. Pacific Fleet said that there had been no damage to the submarine’s nuclear propulsion system and that it had not yet determined what underwater object had been struck. It did not say where the collision happened, but other officials said it was in the South China Sea.

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