‘US ship violated international laws by confronting Chinese vessel’

May 7th, 2009 - 5:20 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, May 7 (ANI): China’s Foreign Ministry has said that the US surveillance ship that got into a confrontation with Chinese fishing vessels on Friday in the Yellow Sea violated international and Chinese laws.

The USNS Victorious, designed for anti-submarine warfare and underwater mapping, was engaged in routine operations in international waters, said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.

But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu disagreed. “The fact is that the USNS Victorious conducted activities in China’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Yellow Sea without China’s permission. China has expressed concern over this issue,” he said.

Whitman said on Wednesday that two Chinese vessels came within 27 metres of the USNS Victorious on Friday about 110 km off the Chinese coast, forcing it to sound an alarm and turn on its fire hoses to deter the vessels.

They did not withdraw until a Chinese military ship arrived in response to an American call for assistance and shined a light on the fishing vessels to end the hour-long incident; the China Daily quoted him, as saying.

China always handles foreign vessels’ activities in its EEZs in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and relevant domestic laws, Ma said.

“We demand that the US take effective measures to prevent similar acts from happening,” Ma added.

The incident is the fifth of its kind within the past two months, unnamed US defense officials said.

The standoff peaked in early March when Chinese vessels and a US surveillance ship, the Impeccable, faced off about 120 km south of the island province of Hainan, which some Western media reported is the site of a Chinese submarine base. (ANI)

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