Inside the Ring: New naval harassment in Asia

A U.S. intelligence-gathering ship was harassed by a Chinese security ship last month in an incident that analysts say indicates Beijing is stepping up aggressive maritime encounters toward the U.S. Navy in the Asia-Pacific.

A Chinese website, Sinocism, posted photographs of what it described as a “fierce confrontation” between the USNS Impeccable, an electronic spy ship, and a China Maritime Surveillance ship.

The Web posting said the Chinese ship videotaped the encounter and posted it online as a way to “expose the activity.” Photos of the Impeccable indicate they were taken on June 21.

The Chinese ship also warned the Navy vessel it was operating “illegally” despite being in undisclosed international waters. The Chinese also said the ship was not a “noncombatant” ship.

“The American vessel USNS Impeccable is far from being a noncombatant,” the Chinese posting stated. “The Impeccable is one of five American surveillance ships equipped with passive and active low-frequency towed-array sonar, and it is effective at detecting submarines, directly serving the American naval fleet by doing so.”

The Navy is stepping up surveillance of China’s submarine force, which has expanded by more than 50 submarines in the past two decades.

Full article: Inside the Ring: New naval harassment in Asia (Washington Times)

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