A Chinese submarine is said to have "sailed very close" to the USS Reagan, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, just days before Washington caused uproar by sending the USS Lassen within 12 nautical miles of man-made islands which Beijing claims as its own, the Washington Free Beacon reported, citing unnamed US defense officials.
"Disclosure of the Chinese submarine encounter comes as Adm. Harry Harris is visiting China for the first time as the commander of US forces in the Pacific. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Command spokesmen declined to comment on the submarine encounter but did not deny that the incident occurred," the media outlet noted.The encounter is alleged to have happened on or around October 24 in the Sea of Japan after the USS Reagan left its homeport of Yokosuka, Japan. No additional details of the incident are available, including the type of the Chinese submarine or the distance between the two warships.
The Washington Free Beacon referred to the incident as "the closest encounter" between a US aircraft carrier and a Chinese submersible in nearly a decade. A previous incident involving the USS Kitty Hawkand and a Song-class attack submarine took place on October 26, 2006.
On October 26, 2015, the US carried out a so-called "freedom of navigation" operation in the South China Sea, which Beijing denounced as a violation of its sovereignty and a "blatant provocation." On Wednesday, China's Defense Minister Chang Wanquan urged the US to refrain from similar acts in the future.Chang Wanquan reaffirmed that Beijing is strongly against any US moves that threaten "China's sovereignty and security interests and undermines regional peace and stability," Xinhua news agency reported.