Asia’s silent risk

It is time governments put in place measures to forestall untoward incidents

Submarines – a silent risk in Asia’s waters

Koh Swee Lean Collin For The Straits Times

President Donald Trump’s recent revelation about a United States Navy submarine’s presence off Korea, during his phone conversation with his Philippine counterpart last month, provoked an interesting debate about submarine operations. Some were concerned whether such disclosure would have endangered crew safety, whereas others argued against making a mountain out of a molehill. In fact, the US Navy regularly publicises, with a certain degree of detail, its submarine activities worldwide.

However, similar levels of transparency are not always forthcoming for most of the Asia-Pacific’s submarine operators, except for Australia and Japan, whose submarines made well-publicised visits to regional ports. By and large, the region’s undersea community remains cloaked under a tight veil of secrecy – well romanticised by submarine campaigns during the world wars, and the post-1945 US-Soviet undersea cat-and-mouse games.

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