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China makes rare admission of naval near-miss

Published on Sep 4, 2014 4:57 PM
This undated photo taken in August 2014 shows a submarine of the People's Liberation Army Navy's Nanhai Fleet taking part in a marine training session in the South China Sea. -- PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP) - China has honoured a submarine captain for averting an underwater "emergency" after his crew reportedly saved the vessel from sinking into waters thousands of metres deep, in a rare disclosure of a near-disaster.

Beijing has been increasing its naval might and reach in recent years, and it is an unusual admission for China's military, which President Xi Jinping regularly urges to strengthen its ability to "win battles".

Wang Hongli, commander of submarine 372, was praised by the Central Military Commission for "successfully dealing with a major sudden dangerous situation" during an underwater mission, the military's official People's Liberation Army Daily reported.

The crew "overcame various difficulties... and created a miracle in China's and the world's submarine history", said the report posted on the defence ministry website Wednesday, without specifying any details.

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