China accuses U.S. of increasing surveillance

Aug. 22, 2013 at 1:17 AM
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BEIJING, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- The United States has stepped up air and sea surveillance in waters near China, a senior Chinese military official said, calling such activities threatening.

"Any country would feel uneasy and threatened under such high-frequency reconnaissance," said Guan Youfei, director of the foreign affairs office of the Chinese Defense Ministry, China Daily reported Thursday. "It goes against the good momentum of building a new type of relationship between the two militaries."

Guan said besides growing U.S. surveillance activities, American vessels and planes are coming closer to Chinese planes and ships in China's exclusive economic zones in the East China Sea and the South China Sea.

"U.S. reconnaissance activities have always been a thorny maritime issue between the two countries. If Washington continues its stubborn conduct, the possibility of confrontation between the two countries' vessels and planes will grow, and this may lead to an accidental clash," Guan was quoted as saying.

China claims sovereignty over much of the South China Sea, which has alarmed its smaller neighbors, some of which also have overlapping claims. China is also involved in a bitter and escalating territorial dispute with Japan over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which Japan controls.

Guan also expressed China's "serious concerns" over the Taiwan Policy Act of 2013, approved by U.S. Congress' Foreign Affairs Committee, authorizing President Barack Obama to accept Taiwan's request for the purchase of F-16 fighters.

"We hope Washington will have a clearer vision of the situation and stop repeating its mistakes on the Taiwan question," Guan said.

Communist China has never given up its sovereign claims over Taiwan, although the two sides have had separate governments for more than six decades.

Guan's comments were made at a news briefing in Washington, D.C., at the end of a four-day U.S. visit by a Chinese delegation led by Defense Minister Chang Wanquan, China Daily said.

Chang's visit was his first since assuming his post. He held talks with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and National Security Adviser Susan Rice.

Chang and Hagel agreed to improve their military relations, even as Beijing continues to express objections to the rebalancing of U.S. forces to the Asia-Pacific region despite U.S. efforts to allay its fears. China wants the United States to redefine their bilateral ties as a "new type of military relationship."

In his comments, Chang said he hoped the rebalancing to Asia strategy by the United States "can bring peace to the Pacific region instead of seeking to weaken China."

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