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US eyes using Japan's submarines to 'choke' Chinese navy

Defense chief Austin's new 'integrated deterrence' demands deeper collaboration

China is surrounded by shallow waters, in stark contrast to the deep waters off the east coasts of Taiwan and Japan. (Google Earth) 

NEW YORK -- For all its massive military buildup, China has some weaknesses that are hard to overcome. One of them is geography.

"When you look at China's submarine bases, every single one of them has a fair bit of shallow water that their submarines have to transit through in order to get to deep water," Tom Shugart, a former U.S. Navy submariner, told Nikkei Asia.

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