In its report on what China’s Jiaolong deep sea submersible has achieved in its submerge operations at world deepest Mariana Trench in northern Pacific, huanqiu.com gives no photos of the submersible. As shown on top, four of the six photos posted by the website are water telephone-6971 and acoustic hanging array used for communication between the submersible and the mother ship more than 6,000 meters deep in the trench.
As there are no wire links between the telephone or array and the submersible or between them and the mother ship, there is speculation that the photos show China’s advanced deep sea communication equipment, which certainly can be used for military purposes.
Source: huanqiu.com “Jiaolong’s huge achievements in submerging into world deepest trench” (summary and comment by Chan Kai Yee on the report in Chinese)
China has recruited six trainees of deep-sea submersible operators and been building its State Deep Sea Base in Qingdao.
The six trainees will take a 2-year course and be certified operators after passing the examination. By that time, China will have eight deep-sea submersible operators.
There are two female trainees among the six. It is said that females are more careful and patient for the task of operating a deep-sea submersible.
Deep sea is a field human beings know even less than the space so that deep sea exploration is very dangerous. China has adopted nine safety measures for the Jiaolong, the most in the world.
In addition to the Jiaolong, earlier this year, China successfully tested its Qianlong 1 6,000-meter grade deep-sea unmanned submarine without cable link that can move freely to explore a large area and its Hailong unmanned submersible with cable link that can remain submerged for a long time and take samples from seabed.
The report says that the Jiaolong will conduct two survey voyages in 2014: survey in May and June of the environment and resources in Northwest Pacific Ocean where cobalt crusts are abundant; and survey of the resources and organisms in the areas with hot liquid sulfides in Southwest India Ocean in late 2014.
Besides scientific exploration, China will gradually achieve commercial application of the Jiaolong for deep-sea tourism.
Source: huanqiu.com “China will have 8 operators for the Jiaolong, its deep-sea base will be completed in 2014” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
- China races foreign rivals to mine the seabed for valuable minerals dated September 4, 2013
- China Developing 11,000-meter Submersible dated June 24, 2013
- Jiaolong Submersible to Carry 14 Scientists to Do Deep-sea Mineral Survey dated June 11, 2013
- China’s target, dive down to 11,000 meters dated June 12, 2012
- China’s military subsidized by civil sector dated June 13, 2012
- China’s ambition to build a deep-sea station dated June 24, 2012
- China’s manned submersible dives 7,020 meters deep dated June 24, 2012
Japan can be regarded as China’s long-term enemy in quite a few Chinese people’s mindset though since the 1970s Sino-Japanese relations have been quite satisfactory until now when tension between the two countries has intensified in their disputes over the Diaoyu Islands (called Senkaku Islands by Japan).
China suffered a humiliating naval defeat by Japan in 1894 and the defeat on the land later forced China to lose Taiwan to Japan and pay heavy war compensation.
A naval war between China and Japan in 2014, the 120th anniversary of China’s naval defeat, for revenge is now quite a hot topic among Chinese people. However, I believe Chinese military strategists always follow Sun Tzu’s teaching and will not conduct a naval war with Japan as China does not have overwhelming naval superiority over Japan and China will surely be defeated if the US is involved.
However, naval war at South China Sea is quite possible.
In my post “Large military hospital for South China Sea actions”, I said, “A large military hospital newly built on Hainan Island indicates that China’s hard-line attitude in South China Sea is not merely bluffing.”
Today’s SCMP news “Sea dive risks stoking tensions” says, “China’s decision to send the Jiaolong manned submarine to explore a basin close to the Philippines may signal a new step in its approach to bolstering regional territorial claims, experts say.”
In addition, according to SCMP, Zhou Huaiyang, a professor with the State Key Laboratory of Marine Geology at Tongji University in Shanghai, “said researchers felt the only role Jiaolong could play was to obtain rock and liquid samples, which could shed light on the geophysical and chemical nature of the basin surface.
“But even that information was far removed from the civilian project’s primary objective, which was to understand how the basin was formed.
“Solving the mystery could help geologists pinpoint mineral belts as well as oil or natural gas reserves.”
Since Jiaolong could not make much contribution to the geological survey, its survey obviously aims at testing Philippine bottom line.
Negotiations between China and the Philippines are still being conducted without conclusion. We do not know whether there will be a repeat of standoff at Scarborough Shoal. It seems China has made up its mind to risk a naval war at South China Sea, but I still hope that China, the Philippines, Vietnam, etc. will strive to find a peaceful solution to their disputes.
SCMP.com – Sea dive risks stoking tensions