27 June 2017
China is planning for 2020 which official media describe as a global scientific expedition of ocean floors using a harder-to-see “submersible” vehicle named Jiaolong. A submersible is defined as a vehicle that operates underwater and usually refers to small research craft. The Jiaolong, which finished five years of trials in February, is equipped to dive to depths up to 7,000 meters for info on marine life, hydrothermal movement and “multi-metal nodule mining,” the official Xinhua News Agency says.
Collin Koh, a maritime security research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said that the undersea diving machine will add to Chinese pride as an advanced maritime nation and not just a land-based one.
“The State Oceanic Administration has shared deep-sea findings before with other countries, so it may offer up the same in 2020. Although Chinese officials would never say so, the undersea mission might be murkily linked to ever-secretive military use,” says Koh.
“This is a problem that highlights the challenge in blurring the lines between civilian and military technologies used for marine scientific and technological work, and the duality of use of such data that is obtained,” Koh says. “We need to recall that back during the Cold War, major navies were reported to have used deep-sea submersibles for underwater espionage activities.”
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 03/07/2017