A man sets up a Chinese flag on his car as he prepares to look at the view of the Taiwan Strait towards the zone where China said it would conduct live-fire exercises
A man sets up a Chinese flag on his car as he prepares to look at the view of the Taiwan Strait towards the zone where China said it would conduct live-fire exercises AFP


  • Social media rumors floated around a PLA nuclear-powered attack submarine sinking in the Taiwan Strait
  • Chinese officials did not release information to corroborate the incident
  • The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense said no evidence of a submarine crash was detected

Claims about a Chinese nuclear-powered submarine sinking near the Taiwan Straight are making the rounds on social media, but Chinese and other government sources have not released any information to corroborate or deny the accident.

Social media was rife with rumors about a Chinese People's Liberation Army nuclear-powered attack submarine sinking in the disputed Taiwan Strait on Tuesday. They claimed all personnel aboard the vessel, including seven trainees, were killed in the accident. Some said the Chinese submarine sank in the Yellow Sea area.

Chinese officials neither confirmed nor denied the claims, true to their reputation of staying silent in such situations.

International Business Times could not independently verify the information; no reputed global media organization has published any report verifying or denying the social media rumors.

The PLA Navy is reported to operate 59 submarines, with 16 of them nuclear-powered.

It is unclear how the claims originated on social media. One X user said the accident took place while the Chinese submarine was carrying out a mission in the Yellow Sea area of ​​the Western Pacific Ocean.

"Top-secret information: 6 hours ago, a Type 09III attack nuclear-powered submarine of the CCP had an accident while performing a mission in the Taiwan Strait, and all submarine officers died. Xi Jinping is learning about this at the Joint Operations Command Center of the Military Commission," the user wrote.

The social media handles that spread the information were not ones previously known to have credibly broken such news. Yes, the rumors were strong enough for the Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense (MND) to say no evidence was found to confirm a submarine crash in the Taiwan Strait.

At a routine news conference in Taipei, MND spokesman Sun Li-fang said the joint intelligence and surveillance apparatus of Taiwan had not detected any evidence of a submarine crash.

IBT has reached out to China's Ministry of National Defense for a comment.

China has a reputation of staying silent on such matters. China initially stayed silent on the Galwan clash between Indian and Chinese troops in their shared Himalayan border in 2020, and later refuted Indian claims about Chinese casualties; India lost about 20 soldiers in that skirmish carried out with sticks and stones. Later when reports from other countries said China also suffered a serious losses of personnel, Beijing largely downplayed the news and has so far acknowledged losing only two soldiers.

In an attempt to force self-governed Taiwan into accepting China's sovereignty, Beijing has been mounting pressure on the island and ramped up its military activity in the airspace and waters near the country.

The Biden administration agreed to sell Taiwan a system that will help its F-16 fighters search and track enemy aircraft through infrared technology even as Beijing repeatedly asked the U.S. not to interfere in matters of the region.

The Pentagon said Wednesday the proposed sale of the $500 million infrared search and track (IRST) system and other recruitment "will not alter the basic military balance in the region."

The IRST system would "further strengthen our fighters' ability to detect and track long-distance targets and greatly the efficacy of our air operations," Taiwan's defense ministry said Thursday.