The People’s Liberation Army of China is building an ‘Underwater Great Wall’ in the South China Sea in a bid to gain substantial undersea warfare advantage in the region. If reports are to be believed, PLA is laying a network of ships and subsurface sensors in the South China Sea.
Apart from the undersea warfare advantage that China claims it is eyeing, its move will also help the PLA in spying the movement of foreign ships in the disputed region ensuring better monitoring of submarine activities.
According to latest inputs, China has also completed Hainan Power Grid inter connection projects with the laying of submarine cable in an area close to the Hainan Province in the South China Sea. The submarine cable passes through Qiongzhou Strait of Nanlung in Guandong Province and Linshi Island in Hainan Province.
China does not seem to be taking any chances with regard to its latest move in the disputed region. The authorities have reportedly cautioned PLA marines against dropping of anchors and dragging while passing through the area. They have also been asked to maintain a speed less than 10 knots.
A circular has been issued concerning the same. Apart from these directives, the marines have been asked not to take photographs while crossing through Qiongzhou Strait.
China South Sea Fleet is located in Guangdong province which faces Hainan Island where China Submarine fleet is also located. This could be seen as yet another attempt by China to reinforce its internal water claim to the Hainan Strait, which the US claims as international water.
The Hainan Strait has been closed for all foreign military vessels while non-foreign vessels are required to obtain permission 48 hours before entering the Strait. They have also been prohibited from using radars and should seek prior permission from Chinese authority in case radars have to be used because of poor visiblity. A detailed report on use of radar has to be submitted later on.
Notably, United States has carried out various missions in South China Sea to check Chinese military moves into this region. The risk of a miscalculation and armed conflict have risen in the disputed South China Sea with a militarily stronger China now able to challenge the US.