China commissions 3 new warships to boost South China Sea fleet

Shanghai, China, Apr 25 (EFE).- The Chinese navy has commissioned two new warships and a nuclear submarine into its South China Sea fleet, official media said, amid raging territorial disputes with other countries in the region.

The new assets include Dalian, the first type-055 destroyer to operate in these waters, Hainan, a ship that can carry helicopters and amphibious assault vehicles.

The newly inducted nuclear submarine, Changzheng 18, is an improved version of the 09IV-type submarine that carries strategic ballistic missiles, state newspaper Global Times reported.

The commissioning ceremony took place Friday in the city of Sanya in the southern Hainan province.

President Xi Jinping, who also heads the Central Military Commission, attended the ceremony that coincided with the 72nd anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army Navy.

Global Times cited analysts claiming that the “world class” vessels were proof of the rapid development of the Chinese navy when the country faced military pressure.

The experts said Changzheng 18 would give Beijing an even greater nuclear deterrence capability and better nuclear retaliation and counter-attack possibilities.

Dalian can act both as an escort to an aircraft carrier and the leader of a fleet.

The other ship pressed into service, Hainan (of the most advanced type 075), will join others offering amphibious landings to “resolve” issues related to the islands, an apparent reference to Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Regional countries, including the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam, claim sovereignty over the South China Sea waters.

They have accused Beijing of parking boats in the area and constructing artificial islands to claim control.

It has also resulted in protests by the United States, which accuses China of militarizing the disputed waters.

The US has sent warships and fighter jets in the region in response, calling these exercises to ensure “freedom of navigation.”

“It is the first time for the South China Sea fleet to receive three large surface and underwater main battle equipment the same day, which highlights China’s determination to manage the South China Sea,” Global Times said. EFE


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