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Monday 21 Aug 2017 | 01:28 | SYDNEY
Monday 21 Aug 2017 | 01:28 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: US surveillance in China's EEZ



5 June 2013 17:18

Mark Valencia responds to Is China 'Reciprocating' US Maritime Surveillance?:

I usually enjoy Rory Medcalf’s iconoclastic analyses. But this one – unless it is tongue in cheek — is quite misleading and full of wishful thinking. Of course China resents US 'surveillance' in its EEZ because of its technological disadvantage and wounded pride vis a vis the West. What country wouldn't in the context of these historical and current political circumstances?

But what it specifically and publicly objects to is not military activities per se in its EEZ but what it considers 'marine scientific research' without its consent (the US, which remains the lone big power outside the Law of the Sea Treaty, calls what it does 'military surveys' and claims they are not covered by the consent regime). In the extreme, China sees some actions by US military and intelligence planes and vessels as a threat of use of force — what China calls 'preparing the battle field' — a possible violation of the UN Charter.

US planes and ships have been probing and 'tickling' China's coastal defenses for years from within or over its EEZ with active intrusive technology, and now it is focused on China's new nuclear submarines. China cannot specifically 'reciprocate' even if it wanted to because it has not yet reached that technological level. Thus it is the specific actions of the US military and intelligence community that it particularly objects to and acts against, not the mere presence of US naval and intelligence assets.

Regarding the EP3, Bowditch and Impeccable incidents, the fact that no further incidents have been reported indicates an operational compromise by both sides, not a one-sided 'pull back'.

Finally, I would be keen to learn of the 'progress' made in mil-to-mil dialogues between China and the US. I don't see it.

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