Chinese submarines are free to navigate international waters, including the Northwest Pacific, which is also visited by other nations’ maritime forces, spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defence, Geng Yansheng, said yesterday.
Geng also criticised the so-called “China Military Threat”, as described by some Japanese media, as an act of “intentionally creating tension with an ulterior political motive,” state-runXinhua news agency reported today.
“Such act is irresponsible and not conducive to peace and stability in the region,” he said.
Geng made the remarks in response to a question regarding some Japanese media outlets’ recent, frequent reporting on the voyages of China’s Yuan-type submarines in Japan’s contiguous zones.
Japan’s coastguard recently said that the Chinese maritime surveillance vessels were spotted inside the 12-nautical-mile zone off the Senkaku islands, which China calls the Diaoyus, in the East China Sea.
The move marked the latest in the decades long standoff between Beijing and Tokyo as they jostle over ownership of the resource-rich islands.
Last September, Japan nationalised three islands in the chain, angering China.
From the perspective of this life-long submariner, the Defense Minister of China is correct. It should be understood that all sovereign nations have a legal and moral right to freely navigate international waters. Too many of our brothers have given too much to assure that right for anyone to arbitrarily restrict it. While the seas are free to be navigated by each sovereign, to keep them safe and assure each sovereign the freedom to navigate unmolested by any other there are internationally agreed upon rules and protocols that each nation is obliged to observe and preserve. Each sovereign honoring those rules and protocols for navigating international waters should have that right protected and defended by everyother sovereign navigating international waters.