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China Retaliates Against US Naval Presence with Ships in Hawaiian Waters

China appears to feel that its naval buildup has progressed sufficiently to allow it to retaliate against the US naval presence in the East China Sea by sending surveillance ships to Hawaiian waters.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) electronic reconnaissance ship spotted in Hawaiian waters is most likely of about 4,000-ton displacement and 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.

The ship apparently sailed inside the US 200-nautical mile EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) though there is no indication it violated the US 12-nautical mile (13.8-mile) territorial waters defined by the 1982 UN convention on the Law of the Sea. The US has been sending recon ships and planes inside China’s EEZ for decades, but this is the first time that China has acknowledged sending a surveillance ship into the US EEZ.

Under the Law of the Sea, which the US hasn’t ratified but abides by, any nation is free to sail or fly within the EEZ of other nations. Indeed even the 13.8-mile territorial waters can be entered by foreign ships as long as it can be considered “innocent passage”. Sending a military surveillance ship into territorial waters, however, would likely be deemed a provocative act by both the US and China. In the past China has protested incursions into its EEZ by US ships and aircraft but had simply lacked the military muscle to block the incursions or to retaliate with incursions of its own.

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. China’s three major fleets are currently also conducting the Mobile 5 naval exercise in undisclosed western Pacific waters.

In the parlance of PLA military strategists the Hawaiian islands are considered the center of the “third island chain” extending from Alaska’s Aleutian Islands to Australia and demarks the “strategic rear” of the US Asia-Pacific military forces. Being only about 2,400 miles from San Francisco, the crossing of the third island chain by PLAN would represent a potential for offensive actions against the US by the Chinese military — Beijing’s perspective, roughly analogous to the regular encroachments by the US navy across the second island chain which is deemed to stretch from Japan to Indonesia.

Even more disconcerting to China’s military brass is the regular incursions by US ships across the so-called first island chain defined by the Diaoyudao (Senkakus) Taiwan and the Spratlys. For that reason the PLA has assiduously built up an arsenal meant to keep US carrier groups at a distance. Among them are so-called carrier-killer ballistic missiles, the J-20 stealth attack jet, stealthy drones equipped with missiles and precision munitions, the Liaoning and other aircraft carriers, destroyers equipped with advanced battle-management radar systems, attack submarines, and surveillance ships and planes.

As China’s naval buildup continues apace, the western Pacific will begin to look more like a chessboard rather than a wide-open field into which the US can position its fleet at will.

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Comments

NWO · Oct 25, 01:58 AM · #

Next, China needs to send several ships into Atlantic waters. Just to keep the West honest.

Kawehi Kanui · Oct 31, 07:05 PM · #

China owns all the gold now..well almost all…and have the money to cruise where ever they please as long as it is within international laws…they are not stupid, they know that Hawaii is not a part of America and that America has been illegally occupying Hawaii since 1893…and making it known to the US…or maybe they think they bought Hawaii from US and is looking over their real estate? Well that is where they are wrong…our lands were never for sale and they should get their money back and the US should give up being the bad occupier that it is today in the case of Hawaii.

When the Hawaiian Kingdom Government file notice with the UN, China was there and they got all the documents and I am sure they looked it over and said, AHHH so, maybe we can buy Hawaii from the US? Maybe, but that would be a mistake since we are not for sale…leave us alone…if you are thinking you can buy our lands and everyone in it.

This is written by a Hawaiian woman and grand mother who just wants people and other countries to stay in their own homelands and take care of their own people and problems and do not come here to shop and us over like slaves for sale. WE ARE NOT FOR SALE!

Jonathan Wong · Nov 1, 01:30 AM · #

Ahhhh, sons of the Proletarian Revolution! If your words were written on the free soil of America, bask then in the blessings of liberty for your fellow Han have not a fraction of your freedom of speech. There will come a day when the West and China will again exchange shots and those of you residing in the West will have to make a choice. Hide your five-star-red-flag banner, young pioneer, because an angry populace will not take kindly to sympathizers of the Middle Kingdom. Observant neighbors like me will not hesitate to summon a comfortable black van so enthusiastic patriots can be reunited with the like-minded.

CNS · Nov 1, 01:26 PM · #

I am reminded of the 2001 incident where China attacked a US surveillance plane, forced a landing on their territory, held the crew captive. The US should “accidentally” bump this ships with a destroyer or battleship, “help” it to a US port, and then return China same level of courtesy extended to us that time.

Mr. W.H. Braden · Nov 1, 04:39 PM · #

Mr. Kanui is correct that Hawaii is not for sale anymore than China or Japan. Hawai’i is a Nation of it’s own. Poland’s recent political history during and after WWII is an example. The Germans and later the Russians just made it difficult to govern in the open. USA are illegal occupiers. Second point, China is not going to attack America, Billions of her people will die and who is left will not have a trading partner.

JB · Nov 1, 10:34 PM · #

The
Guy who wrote the “Hawaii is it’s own Nation” is an idiot. Imagine if Hickam, Pearl, Schofield, Kaneohe, et al closed – the Hawaiian economy would crumple to a state like Nigeria.

Sinopuppy · Nov 5, 02:45 AM · #

Imperial Japan Navy Admiral 山本 五十六 Yamamoto Isoroku personally opposed the invasion of NorthEast China-Manchuria in 1931, the subsequent land war with China (1937), and the 1940 Tripartite Pact with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. He actually advocated a Defense Treaty with China in 1912 when as a naval Lieutenant and later at Harvard University (1919–1921). During his time in America he studied American customs and business practices. Yamamoto was directed by the actions of the United States embargo and sanctions against Japan.

Koiue · Nov 6, 05:12 AM · #

Taiwan is an independent and sovereign country which is not part of China. Beijing needs to stop claiming Taiwan as the people called Taiwanese have decided that Taiwan is a country.

Sinopuppy · Nov 9, 03:54 AM · #

Imperial Japan Kaigun had 10 Battle Aircraft Carriers at the start of WW2. The Japanese like the Chinese PLAN has underestimated the industrial capabilities and warfighting logistics of the United States. Make no mistake it will be a war of attrition and drag on for years. Not a quick clean war. China’s warfighting assets need to be greatly expanded and it’s logistics reserve built up exponentially.

bobby johnson · Jan 13, 08:35 PM · #

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