Guam – The Financial Times is reporting that the Chinese navy has begun operating within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ], possibly off Guam.
An article written by FT’s Kathrin Hille quotes U.S. Pacific Force Commander Admiral Samuel Locklear as saying a Chinese military official has confirmed that the PRC navy has been “making forays into the US EEZ.”
Admiral Locklear spoke to the FT on the sidelines of a regional defense forum in Singapore this past weekend.
Admiral Locklear declined to confirm just where the Chinese patrols are occurring, according to the FT report. But the article quotes delegates at the defense forum as saying that “it was most likely that it had extended its radius of patrols and exercises to near Guam, rather than Hawaii or the US mainland.”
A nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone extends 200 nautical miles off that nation’s coast. It is different from the internationally recognized territorial waters of a country which extend out to only 12 nautical miles.
For years, the U.S. Navy has sent both patrol vessels and aircraft on intelligence missions within China’s Exclusive Economic Zone.