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China renews accusations against US ship

China renews accusations against US ship

China's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday fired back at U.S. complaints over the harassment of a U.S. Navy mapping ship by Chinese boats in international waters over the weekend.
In a statement posted on the Foreign Ministry's Web site, spokesman Ma Zhaoxu called "unacceptable" U.S. claims that the USNS Impeccable was operating legally within China's exclusive economic zone when the encounter occurred Monday.
U.S. Defense Department officials said the ship is designed and equipped for sub-hunting work and was part of a calculated U.S. surveillance operation in the disputed South China Sea.
"The U.S. claims are "gravely in contravention of the facts and unacceptable to China," Ma said in the statement that mainly reiterated comments he made at a news conference on Tuesday.
"China has lodged a solemn representation to the United States as the USNS Impeccable conducted activities in China's exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea without China's permission," he said.
China has demanded the U.S. take "effective measures to prevent similar acts from happening," he added.
Sunday's confrontation between the USNS Impeccable and five Chinese ships took place in international waters about 75 miles (120 kilometers) off the southern coast of Hainan Island.
The island province is home to numerous Chinese military installations, including a new submarine base near the resort city of Sanya.
Photographs of the base taken last year and posted on the Internet by the Federation of American Scientists show a submarine cave entrance and a pier for docking subs. In the pictures, a Chinese Jin class second-generation nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine appeared to be tied up at the pier.
While little else is known about the installation, its location in the South China Sea offers the People's Liberation Army Navy access to crucial waterways through which much of the shipping bound for Japan and Northeast Asia must travel.
While the dispute shows little sign of escalating, neither side is backing down, even as they prepare for a much-anticipated first meeting between President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao next month.
The incident recalls a 2001 mid-air collision between a Chinese fighter jet and a U.S. spy plane in international air space south of Hainan that killed the Chinese pilot and forced the plane to land at a Chinese air base.


Updated : 2021-03-07 20:39 GMT+08:00