Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Look Ma, He doesn't let me spy on his new toy on his curbside

That's essentially what The Pentagon said in a story that breaks out to media. USNS Impeccable, the sonar equipped Navy spy-ship was turned away about 75 miles off the coast of Hainan island, and near the Chinese submarine base.

China, in rebuttal, emphasized that the incident happened in Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends 200 nautical miles, or 230 miles, from coastline. In general, ships are free of passage in EEZ, but navy spy-ships certainly raises flags. NYT reports that "The United States and other nations consider the area as lying in international waters. " In fact, it is governed by UNCLOS, which the United States accepted all but Part XI as customary international law, although it hasn't ratified it.

In reality, spy incidents like this happens all the time. Although, the U.S. is probably the only country who thinks it has the right to lay hands on anybody's ass - or spy on toys. It's not clear to me whether it's because the ship finally gets intolerably close to the Chinese, or the Chinese patrols suddenly decides to act like they some backbone after the Russia sinking cargo ship incident. Either way, for the U.S. to protest and claim "oh they laid some woods to block our passage" is pretty amusing.

NYT gets one thing right. It draws some similarity to the spy plane incident. Whether who is the initial provoker, it offers some test for the new President. And I'm guessing the Chinese Navy would be a winner out of this too, since it is hotly debated the need to build a Naval Carrier in China. In incidents like this can possibly sway the support.

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1 comment:

  1. It was interesting to see the commercials soon after on TV tauting the exclusive new economic zone!