According to a recent report by the US Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is to deploy Jin-class nuclear ballistic missile submarines which will begin to patrol the northern Pacific Ocean this year.
“With a range in excess of 4000 [nautical miles], the JL-2 submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM), will enable the JIN to strike Hawaii, Alaska and possibly western portions of CONUS from East Asian waters,” said ONI Senior Intelligence Officer Jesse Karotkin in a written testimony to the US China Economic and Security Review Commission in late January.
The new Jin-class Type 94 submarines are a developmental leap from China’s older Type 92 Xia-class submarines and have been developed as part of Beijing’s efforts to create a deterrent patrol.
“At the dawn of the 21st Century, the People’s Liberation Army Navy remained a largely littoral force. Though China’s maritime interests were rapidly changing, the vast majority of its naval platforms offered very limited capability and endurance, particularly in blue water. Over the past 15 years the PLAN has carried out an ambitious modernization effort, resulting in a more technologically advanced and flexible force,” said Karotkin in his report.
Earlier this week, Stars and Stripes also reported that the US Navy is worried because “China appears to be preparing to challenge US supremacy by accelerating the construction of a second aircraft carrier.”
According to US officials, China is building a “blue-water navy” capable of sustained operations across oceans and projecting power far from home.
China is considering the Pentagon’s focus on the “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific as a strategy to counter China’s increasing global influence and says US militarism in the region could endanger peace.