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China is using underwater drones in a contested region to show off its might



Screenshot Cnbc.com

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Added 08-12-17 03:02:01am EST - “Beijing may be using underwater drones to strengthen its ambitions in the South China Sea.” - Cnbc.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Cnbc.com: “China is using underwater drones in a contested region to show off its might”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

The world's second-largest economy has been deploying disruptive technology that could strengthen its territorial ambitions in the South China Sea.

Late last month, Beijing dropped a dozen underwater drones, also known as unmanned underwater vehicles, in an unspecified location in the international waterway to carry out "scientific observations," state-run media outlet Xinhua reported.

The torpedo-shaped vehicles — called Haiyi, or sea wings in Mandarin — will remain underwater for a month, according to reports. In March, one device hit a depth of 6,329 meters, breaking an earlier record held by a U.S. vessel, Xinhua said.

China claims a massive section of the South China Sea that extends roughly 1,000 miles from its southern shores. The huge area is home to significant energy deposits and the world's busiest shipping routes, but Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also assert sovereign rights over parts of the international waterway.

The use of autonomous drones raises a number of questions as to whether Beijing is deploying the technology to support its aggressive expansion in the geopolitical hotspot.

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