Chinese criticize US naval intelligence gathering in the China Sea

April 11, 2007

I saw this posted on almost every major Chinese website and the lack of English coverage on this intrigued me.

According to Sina’s Pioneer  magazine ( 国际先驱导报) and China’s Maritime Department, the United States has on several occasions (cited as 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005) “illegally entered” China’s maritime territory to conduct maritime surveillance.

The sina article states that:

“When America engages in military surveying, on the one hand it’s for helping the American military familiarize with the “battlefield environment,”  yet at the same time they are conducting surveillance, such as monitoring China’s naval activities in maritime territory China has direct jurisdiction over(管辖海域).  This clearly is an extreme threat to China’s maritime security.” (这显然是对中国海洋安全的极大威胁)

In one instance, the article claimed that a US Naval Survey Ship, while conducting operations in the China Sea for 23 days, was repeatedly warned to leave the territory and “by coincidence” the sonar array it was towing to gather sea-bed intelligence crashed into a Chinese fishing boat.

According to the Pioneer ,the American naval vessels were conducting surveillance in China’s “Exclusive Economic Zone”(中国专属经济区) which encompasses an area beyond what the United Nations recognize as a nations sovereign territory.  Thus the United States routinely wanders about these areas, and in extreme cases  these operations have led to diplomatic crisis such as the 2001 spy plane incident over Hainan.

The article also states that China is well aware of these activities, and despite unclear international laws, China has engaged in pursuit and monitoring operations in order to “sternly express the position of the Chinese Government.”

 Link to the article in Chinese

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