This is coolbert:
This South China Sea most recent "incident" between an unarmed U.S. naval vessel and Chinese "trawler" type ships has created a minor stir?
An American unarmed naval vessel, USNS Impeccable, set upon by Chinese "merchant" shipping, the navigation of the American ship in open and international waters interfered with!
The path of the USNS vessel interfered with, debris thrown in the path of the Impeccable, and attempts made to snare an underwater sonar sled being towed by the Impeccable.
All grave violations of international law and the law of the sea?
The Impeccable is described as unarmed, a vessel the primary mission of which is servicing anti-submarine surface war craft of the U.S. Navy. An ungainly looking naval vessel, a box on a catamaran twin hull [?] but ideally suited for the mission it performs?
During the time of this particular incident, was towing a sonar sled, "mapping" the underwater terrain in the South China Sea.
Within an area CLAIMED BY CHINA AS SOVEREIGN TERRITORY!!
"US protests 'harassment' of USNS Impeccable by Chinese vessels"
"At one point during the incident Sunday the unarmed USNS Impeccable turned fire hoses on an approaching Chinese ship in self defense, the Pentagon said. At another point a Chinese ship played chicken with the Americans, stopping dead in front of the Impeccable as it tried to sail away, forcing the civilian mariners to slam on the brakes."
"Chinese ships surrounded and harassed a Navy mapping ship in international waters off China, at one point coming within 25 feet of the American boat and strewing debris in its path, the Defense Department said today."
And here from the Guardian:
"The episode had overtones of spy craft, but the U.S. ship is not, strictly speaking, a spy ship. It maps the ocean floor with sonar, compiling information the Navy can use to steer its own submarines or track those of other nations."
"China views almost the entirety of the South China Sea as its territory. Its claims to small islets in the region have put it at odds with five governments: the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan"
It does appear that these WERE NOT Chinese naval warships that confronted and harassed the Impeccable. Civilian fishing vessels or the proverbial ubiquitous "trawler"!!
* Mapping of the undersea floor, with a towed sonar sled, could be considered to be "intelligence gathering". NOT espionage in the commonly understood meaning of the word espionage, but intelligence gathering nonetheless.
* The Chinese make extravagant claims regarding the South China Sea and adjacent waters. Claims that are specious but seriously regarded by the Chinese. ENORMOUS RESERVES OF OIL LAY UNDER THE SOUTH CHINA SEA? AGAIN, SPECIOUS AND UNVERIFIED CLAIMS!
* Interference of this nature could very well be seen as counter-intelligence, counter-reconnaissance. The behavior of the Chinese is for a good reason? There is something in that area, activity perhaps, the Chinese DO NOT WANT THE U.S. TO KNOW ABOUT!! "Something" that will cause concern on the part of the U.S. Navy if detected?