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China Sends Spy Ship as Vessels Join Largest US Naval Drill

Sunday, 20 Jul 2014 09:12 AM

BEIJING — China sent a surveillance vessel to waters off Hawaii just as the country participated for the first time in the world’s largest naval exercise that’s held in the area, the U.S.-led Rim of the Pacific Exercise, or Rimpac.

The auxiliary general intelligence ship is outside U.S. territorial seas, yet within the 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone, Captain Darryn James, chief spokesman for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said in an e-mailed statement today. The vessel is not associated with the Rimpac that’s now under way, he said.

“U.S. naval forces continually monitor all maritime activity in the Pacific, and we expect this ship will remain outside of U.S. territorial seas and not operate in a manner that disrupts the ongoing Rim of the Pacific maritime exercise,” Captain James said.

China sent the second-largest contingent to this year’s Rimpac, after being invited to participate by the U.S. for the first time. Designed to foster international cooperation as China’s navy expands its capabilities, the presence of the surveillance vessel has raised questions among participants.

“This is not the first time we’ve been under surveillance while we’re operating or exercising,” said Per Rostad, commanding officer of the Royal Norwegian Navy’s Fridtjof Nansen. “However, one might say it’s a bit novel when you participate in an exercise with participating units,” said Rostad, who worked alongside the Chinese navy to transport chemical weapons from Syria.

While China is taking part in this year’s Rimpac, its forces are being kept out of most of the exercises’ core combat components. The country has sent four ships — missile destroyer Haikou, frigate Yueyang, supply ship Qiandaohu and the Peace Ark medical ship.

“You don’t really see exercises on this scale in Europe,” said Rostad. “The amount of fighter aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft, the amount of submarines, the amount of different types of targets to fire ordnance.”

International law provides freedom of navigation through a country’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The U.S. recognizes and respects the right of all nations to exercise freedom of navigation and overflight beyond any coastal nation’s territorial seas according to international law, Captain James said, in reference to the Chinese surveillance ship.

China has long complained about U.S. surveillance activities off China’s coast within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone. In 2009, China said that a Navy surveillance ship conducted activity in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone in the Yellow Sea that violated international and Chinese laws. The USNS Victorious didn’t seek China’s permission, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said at the time.

 

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China sent a surveillance vessel to waters off Hawaii just as the country participated for the first time in the world's largest naval exercise that's held in the area, the U.S.-led Rim of the Pacific Exercise, or Rimpac.
us, china, navy
1674
2014-12-20
Sunday, 20 Jul 2014 09:12 AM
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