China's recent public display of its first fleet of nuclear submarines is seen as a sign by experts of the communist nation's growing military confidence, according to experts.
The Financial Times reported
that China showed off the submarines through its state-run Xinhua news agency with photos showing what is believed to be Xia-class ships. The subs appear to be several decades old.
The Financial Times noted that while the photos did not show China's Jin-class, which are more advanced and located at Hainan Island, it still exhibits a new willingness for China to display its military hardware.
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China's recent public display of its first fleet of nuclear submarines is seen as a sign by experts of the communist nation's growing military confidence, according to experts. "It is still the first time that the Xia class has been discussed in such detail in China’s state-run media," Taylor Fravel, an expert on Chinese security at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told the Financial Times. "As China’s military modernization continues to advance, the PLA has become more willing to discuss its capabilities."
Gary Li, a senior analyst at IHS Maritime, told the Financial Times the fact that China showed the submarines suggests the vessels are "no longer considered an active vessel" and would be replaced with the newer Jin-class.
"(The photos are a) sign of increased attempts at creating a sense of transparency to the world," Li told the Financial Times.
earlier this month about the Obama's administration faltering promise to "pivot" militarily toward Asia in the wake of China's growing influence. Reuters noted while the administration promised 2,500 to be stationed in Australia by 2017, 1,500 Marines arrived for a six-month tour there and left.
"It's symptomatic of the concern in Asia over the sustainability of the American commitment," Carl Baker, director of the Pacific Forum at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Hawaii, told Reuters.
Reuters noted that Chinese President Xi Jinping was recently in Indonesia announcing deals worth about $30 billion and then in Malaysia to establish a "comprehensive strategic partnership" that includes upgraded military ties.
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"For countries not closely allied with the U.S., Obama's no-show will reinforce their policy of bandwagoning with China," Carl Thayer, emeritus professor at the Australian Defense Force Academy, told Reuters.
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