- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 29, 2013

China unveiled this week a fleet of nuclear submarines that has been shrouded in mystery and hidden for 40-plus years — a move seen by security experts as a show of force and confidence from a nation that’s aggressively pursuing the top spot on the world stage.

The submarines are older-generation models, part of the country’s secretive military program, The Daily Mail reported. The vessels are equipped with rocket launchers that can fire beneath the water.

China brought forth the fleet in a public ceremony that included demonstration missions from seamen off the coast of Qingdao, on the eastern coast. The seamen participated in safety drills, military combat simulations and training, The Daily Mail said.

Chinese naval ships and helicopters also participated in the drills.

The country is actively pursuing military might, spending significantly more money to bolster its naval forces — something which the United States is viewing with heightened concern.

Earlier this year, U.S. officials were alarmed when they spotted a Chinese naval fleet sailing international waters located between northern Japan and Russia. Included in the fleet: Two missile destroyers and three other vessels. Media reports at the time cited the reasons for the Chinese naval maneuvers as “unclear,” The Daily Mail reported.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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