Moreover, Beijing insists that such intelligence gathering activities are banned under international law within China’s Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from its coastline. The Impeccable was about 70 nautical miles south of Hainan Island. The US is not a signatory to the international law of the sea, but disputes China’s interpretation.
For its part, the Obama administration has not backed away from President Bush’s efforts to contain China through a series of strategic alliances and basing arrangements, stretching from Japan and South Korea through South East Asia and Australia to the Indian subcontinent, Afghanistan and Central Asia. Within the American political establishment, while tactical approaches vary, there is a general consensus that China is emerging as a major challenge to US interests.
Naval incidents highlight tense US-China relations
By John Chan
12 March 2009