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While the submarines displayed on Sunday were the older generation of nuclear vessels that are part of China’s northern fleet – and not the more advanced Jin-class based at the southern Chinese island of Hainan – the display in the domestic media nonetheless reflects the Chinese military’s growing confidence.
“It is still the first time that the Xia class has been discussed in such detail in China’s state-run media,” said Taylor Fravel, an expert on Chinese security at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US. “As China’s military modernisation continues to advance, the PLA has become more willing to discuss its capabilities.”
In recent years, the People’s Liberation Army Navy has become increasingly active in the Pacific, particularly in staking Chinese claims to disputed maritime territory in the South China Sea.
Chinese ships and aircraft have also become more aggressive in challenging Japanese control of the Senkaku Islands – which China calls the Diaoyu – in the East China Sea.Japan has administered the uninhabited group for decades, but China and Taiwan both claim sovereignty.