In early October, U.S. Navy's nuclear-powered submarine USS Connecticut sustained damage after it struck an unknown object while submerged in the waters of the South China Sea. One month since the incident, the United States has continued to remain tight-lipped about it, failing to explain to the world what exactly had transpired.
Given the gravity of the situation, it is certainly justified for China and other littoral states of the South China Sea to seek answers from the United States.
What was USS Connecticut up for secretively in the South China Sea this time? What did it collide with? What led to the collision? Was there a nuclear leakage triggering nuclear contamination in the marine environment? These relevant questions demand answers.
The United States has long been causing trouble in the South China Sea in the name of "freedom of navigation," posing a grave threat and major risks to regional peace and stability. This is the root cause of the incident.
In the first half of this year, the U.S. side conducted close-in reconnaissance nearly 2,000 times and over 20 large-scale military drills on the sea targeting China, according to China's Foreign Ministry.
The U.S. nuclear submarine incident should come as a wake-up call as such dangerous actions risk crossing the border, seriously threatening the safety of international maritime routes.
The United States cannot evade accountability as damage to a nuclear submarine is really of great importance. The U.S. military has deliberately delayed releasing details of the incident in an apparent attempt to conceal the reality. It only issued a short, vaguely worded statement five days after the incident and continued to cover up any follow-up actions.
Such an irresponsible and secretive approach is a direct reflection of the long-standing lack of transparency in the dissemination of military information by the United States, which further solidifies the image that it is an extremely irresponsible country.
The South China Sea is the shared home for the countries in the region. It should not be a hunting ground for the United States for its geopolitical self-interests. The onus now lies with the United States to give a detailed explanation and help dispel the concerns and doubts of countries in the region as well as the international community.
Over the past one month, the United States has shown reluctance in telling the truth. But no matter how desperately the United States tries to mask the reality, it can never deny the certain fact that the United States has always been an unreliable and untrustworthy information disseminator; that it is the biggest source of risk to international nuclear security, the biggest threat to the security of the South China Sea, and the greatest destructive force to world peace and regional security.