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US Accused of Reconnaissance in Chinese Waters, Airspace

RIA Novosti

14:20 01/08/2014

MOSCOW, August 1 (RIA Novosti) – China leveled accusations against the United States on Friday, saying that US naval ships and aircraft were conducting regular reconnaissance activities in Chinese territorial waters and airspace, a statement issued by the country's Defense Ministry said.

"We should note that over a long period of time American naval vessels and planes have been carrying out regular reconnaissance in territorial waters and airspace under Chinese jurisdiction," the statement read.

The announcement by the ministry's spokesman Geng Yansheng at a press conference came in response to a question concerning the deployment of a Chinese surveillance ship in international waters off Hawaii as part of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) maritime training exercises, in which China is taking part for the first time.

The US Navy, did not send a note of protest to the country, but claimed that given the situation, China could no longer accuse the United States of similar activity. Beijing, however, did not agree with the statement.

Geng stressed that the Chinese vessel was outside US territorial waters and its presence was in accordance with international and US domestic laws.

The United States in its turn, insisted the ship was in its exclusive economic zone even if it acted within the framework of international law.

"The Chinese ship's operation is not to be compared with the intensity and scale of activity conducted by American ships and planes against China," Geng stressed, adding that such activity seriously undermines China's national security and may lead to accidents both at sea and in the air.

The world's largest naval exercises, RIMPAC, are taking place from June 26 until August 1 off the coast of Hawaii. Forty-seven ships and six submarines from 23 countries, as well as more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 sailors are participating in the drills.

China has sent missile destroyer Haikou, missile frigate Yueyang, supply ship Qiandaohu and hospital ship Peace Ark to Hawaii.

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