China Moves Spy Ship to Hawaiian Waters in “Retaliation” Against U.S.
Unprecedented development showcases Beijing’s increasing military confidence
Image: Wikimedia Commons.
China has sent a surveillance ship to Hawaiian waters for the very first time in an unprecedented move which is being described as a provocative retaliation to the U.S. naval presence in the East China Sea.
According to a report by GoldSea.com, a news outlet aimed at Asian-Americans, a 4,000 ton People’s Liberation Army electronic reconnaissance ship was recently spotted near Hawaii within the U.S. 200-nautical mile EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone).
The report was also picked up by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, which ran an article entitled China moves spy ship near isles, Asian media say.
The ship “is equipped with various electronic gear for eavesdropping on radio communications and tracking ships and aircraft. It is also believed to have jamming equipment to interfere with the radio communications of other ships,” according to the report.
The development is unprecedented because China has never sent a ship within the U.S. EEZ, although the U.S. has entered the Chinese EEZ on numerous occasions for decades. It is not known whether the ship violated the territorial waters of the United States, which extend to 12 nautical miles under the 1982 UN convention on the Law of the Sea.
The fact that the ship got within 2,400 miles of San Francisco represents “a potential for offensive actions against the US by the Chinese military,” according to the report.
The development is apparently part of China’s growing military confidence, which was also exemplified with the country’s recent declassification of its nuclear-armed Xia-class submarine fleet, which according to state media represents an “assassin’s mace that would make adversaries tremble.”
China’s increasing aggressiveness in the East China Sea and its challenge to Japanese control of the Senkaku Islands has sparked tensions, with Japan repeatedly scrambling fighter jets earlier this week in response to Chinese military aircraft flying near Okinawa.
Back in September, China also reportedly sent warships to the coast of Syria to “observe” the actions of US and Russian vessels in the region.
“The recent deployment of a PLAN surveillance ship into Hawaiian waters is seen as Beijing’s message to the US and the rest of the world that China can now contest the waters of the western Pacific and that the US Navy no longer has a free pass in the region. It is also seen as a form of retaliation for what Beijing considers the provocative naval exercises the US recently conducted in the Yellow Sea jointly with the navies of South Korea and Japan’s Self-Defense Force,” states the report.
Watch a video demonstration of China’s recently declassified Xia-class submarine fleet below.