China Tells U.S. to Be Transparent, Take 'Responsibility' for Accident in South China Sea

China is calling for the U.S. to take responsibility for an accident in the South China Sea last month.

The Associated Press reports that Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin spoke about the incident Tuesday during a daily briefing. He requested that the U.S. provide full details about the incident, which involved the nuclear-powered submarine USS Connecticut striking an underwater mountain.

"We once again urge the U.S. to give a detailed account of the accident," he said during the briefing.

Wenbin further describes how the U.S. fails to offer "a clear explanation" of the submarine's purpose in the area. According to the spokesman, this demonstrates that the U.S. is showing a "lack of transparency and responsibility" regarding the incident. He continued further, saying that the nation could not provide "the specific location of the accident, whether it was in another country's exclusive economic zone or even territorial waters, whether it caused a nuclear leak or damaged marine environment."

China controls the international trade that occurs in the South China Sea.

The U.S. Navy has previously said that the USS Connecticut's nuclear reactor and propulsion system were not damaged in the incident. The striking of the submarine occurred on Oct. 2. However, the military branch did not report the incident until five days later.

The USS Connecticut is currently located in Guam for a damage assessment. The Navy has yet to respond to Wenbin's comments.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

USS Connecticut 2016
The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) departs Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for sea trials following a maintenance availability, Dec. 15, 2016, in Washington. This ship was involved in an accident in the South China Sea in October. Thiep Van Nguyen II/U.S. Navy via AP

The Navy has yet to fully explain how or why the sub struck the seamount or to reveal the extent of damage to the Seawolf-class submarine.

China claims sovereignty over virtually the entire South China Sea, through which trillions of dollars of international trade pass each year. Six governments claim islands, atolls, and exclusive economic zones in the sea, while the U.S. insists that freedom of navigation be maintained, reinforcing that with regular military flights and naval patrols, and training missions around the region.

The collision caused a small number of moderate and minor injuries to the crew. USNI News, which was first to report that the submarine had struck a seamount, said damage to the forward section of the sub included its ballast tanks.

Newsweek has previously reported that China's Defense Ministry spokesman Tan Kefei attributed the accident to military tensions between China and the U.S. in the South China Sea.

"We reiterate that the United States must take the concerns of all parties seriously, take a responsible attitude and give a detailed explanation of the incident as soon as possible, so as to satisfactorily address the concerns of the international community as well as regional countries," said Tan in a press conference last month.