The possibility of military intervention by the United States and Japan in Taiwan Straits in case "Taiwan independence" forces take extreme action has long been China's top maritime concern. Disputes with neighboring countries over territorial claims and its interests in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, too, have been a major maritime concern for China.
China's maritime disputes with its neighbors range from claims over islands and waters to claims over exclusive economic zones, continental shelves and underwater resources. The settlement of these issues remains difficult because of their relevance to state sovereignty, territorial integrity and national feelings, as well as some complicated historical and practical factors.
Disputes in the South China Sea have intensified recently, as indicated by frictions between China, and Vietnam and the Philippines. The collision between a Chinese fishing boat and two Japan Coast Guard vessels in the waters off China's Diaoyu Islands in September snowballed into a serious crisis between China and Japan.
China has long held that territorial disputes with neighboring countries should be settled through peaceful dialogue free from outside intervention. And China has always advocated that disputing countries should shelve their differences and take measures to enhance mutual trust if they cannot resolve the disputes immediately.
But against all maritime norms, the United States has been carrying out surveillance in the waters off China's coast, citing "freedom of navigation" as an excuse. The US' activities have got closer to China's land area and increased in frequency in recent years, causing grave concern.
By indulging in such acts, Washington is contravening its commitment to work with Beijing to build a constructive and all-round Sino-US relationship and going back on its promise to take practical measures to jointly meet the common challenges.
The US' surveillances have endangered China's national security and violated its maritime rights and interests. Washington's actions have sent negative signals and indicate that it still sees Beijing as a major rival or potential adversary and could become the main source of maritime conflicts between China and the US.
The surveillances are detrimental to the development of military ties between Beijing and Washington, too, and thwart the two sides' efforts to build much-needed mutual strategic trust.
China has unwaveringly adhered to the "free navigation" principle. But it is firmly opposed to the abuse of the principle by the US for conducting unrestrained military surveillance in China's waters. More at:http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/thinktank/2010-11/26/content_11613005.htm