US Nuclear Submarine Collides with 'Unknown Object' in South China Sea
U.S.S. Connecticut strikes object amid escalating tensions with Chinese Communist Party
An American nuclear-powered attack submarine has collided with an unknown object in the South China Sea, according to officials.
The USS Connecticut is in a "safe and stable condition" with 11 sailors suffering mainly minor injuries after the incident on October 2, a statement by the US Pacific Fleet revealed.
The Seawolf-class attack submarine is nuclear-powered but the fleet said its propulsion system is "fully operational" and was unaffected.
It is unclear what the submarine hit but it was not another sub, two Navy officials, speaking anonymously to the AP news agency, said.
One said it may have been a sunken ship, container, or another uncharted vessel.
The official Pacific Fleet statement said it happened while submerged in "international waters in the Indo-Pacific region" but the exact location of the collision was not specified.
A defense official told U.S.N.I. News that the submarine is now headed to Guam, where it was expected to arrive on Saturday.
The region has been the scene of intense naval activity in recent years as Communist China flexes its military muscles and the U.S. conducts "freedom of navigation" missions to limit Beijing's influence.
The accident comes as Washington expresses concern about China's increasingly belligerent stance towards the self-governing island Taiwan.
And on Thursday it emerged that U.S. special forces and Marines have been training troops on the South China Sea island for at least a year.
In a statement, the Pacific Fleet said "the safety of the crew remains the Navy’s top priority.
"There are no life-threatening injuries."
"The extent of damage to the remainder of the submarine is being assessed.
"The incident will be investigated."
The 353-foot sub was commissioned in 1998 and sails with a crew of 116, including 15 officers.
It can carry 40 torpedoes or missiles.
Officials offered no further details about its activities in the region.
But its presence in such a sensitive location will spark speculation about what could have caused the accident.
Earlier the Central Intelligence Agency announced a reorganization on Thursday, putting a greater focus on China as tensions continue to rise between the world's biggest economies.
The CIA's new "China Mission Center" was unveiled as a report claimed that U.S. special operations forces and Marines had been secretly operating in Taiwan to train military forces there for the past year.
Increasing tensions in the South Sea China have triggered warnings of war after sent air sorties and hostile rhetoric towards the self-governing island.
CIA Director William Burns said the new unit was a result of strategic reviews that concentrated on "China, technology, people, and partnerships."
He warned that the most important geopolitical threat facing the U.S. is the "increasingly adversarial Chinese government."
"CMC will further strengthen the agency's work on the most important geopolitical threat we face in the 21st century, an increasingly adversarial Chinese government," he said.
As Neon Nettle previously reported, in August, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) warned Taiwan that the "US military won’t come to help" when China invades the country.
China has used the disastrous situation in Afghanistan - after Biden's bungling effectively rolled out the red carpet for the Taliban to seize control of the country - to threaten the people of Taiwan into surrendering to them.
The Global Times, a CCP-controlled daily tabloid newspaper that acts as a mouthpiece for the Communist Party, warned Taiwan that in the event of a confrontation with mainland China, the U.S. would abandon its long-time ally.