China Says U.S. Provoked Naval Confrontation

Following yesterday’s incident in which the Pentagon called harassment of an American vessel by Chinese ships in the South China Sea “dangerous, unprofessional and in violation of international law,” the Chinese government has now responded that the U.S. provoked the incident. From the Los Angeles Times:

…A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ma Zhaoxu, said that “the U.S. claims are gravely in contravention of the facts and confuse black and white, and they are totally unacceptable to China.”

“We demand that the United States put an immediate stop to related activities and take effective measures to prevent similar acts from happening,” Ma said at a regularly scheduled news briefing.

Ma did not describe what happened, nor did he say in what way the U.S. ship had violated international and Chinese laws. But China regards most of the area of the South China Sea as its territory.

The confrontation took place about 75 miles south of China’s Hainan Island, near a naval base where Beijing has started operating new nuclear-attack and ballistic-missile submarines, said Hans M. Kristensen, nuclear-information project director at the Federation of American Scientists.

See also: “China Says U.S. Broke Sea Law in Confrontation” from the Wall Street Journal, “Will US-China relations sink or swim?” from the Guardian, and “China sending a message to Obama?” from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, as well as “China says U.S. naval ship breaks int’l, Chinese law” from Xinhua.

March 10, 2009 1:24 PM
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