Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

The China games

Posted by Charles II on March 9, 2009

On a day when one of China Daily’s top stories is that the US and China are conducting joint naval exercises and China stresses that its naval buildup is defensive, we get this headscratcher.

The Pentagon is claiming that the Chinese harassed an intelligence gathering ship, Impeccable. Here’s the essence of the complaint, from CNN:

The crew members aboard the [Chinese] vessels, two of which were within 50 feet, waved Chinese flags and told the U.S. ship to leave the area, the statement said.

“Because the vessels’ intentions were not known, Impeccable sprayed its fire hoses at one of the vessels in order to protect itself,” the statement said. “The Chinese crewmembers disrobed to their underwear and continued closing to within 25 feet.”

After the Impeccable alerted the Chinese ships “in a friendly manner” that it was seeking a safe path to depart the area, two of the Chinese ships stopped “directly ahead of USNS Impeccable, forcing Impeccable to conduct an emergency ‘all stop’ in order to avoid collision,” the statement said.

“They dropped pieces of wood in the water directly in front of Impeccable’s path.”

A Pentagon spokesman … said the Chinese crew members used poles to try to snag the Impeccable’s acoustic equipment in the water.

The statement that you spray a ship with firehoses because you don’t know what Chinese intentions are is pretty strange. [Corrected; thanks, George Lowry]The Impeccable is 281 feet long, much, much larger than the trawlers that challenged it.

Another one to file under, “Something’s happening here, but what it is ain’t exactly clear.”

4 Responses to “The China games”

  1. George Lowry said

    I think this is the ‘Impeccable’ involved in the rope-a-dope with the Chinese smudgepots.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USNS_Impeccable_(T-AGOS-23)

  2. Charles II said

    Thanks, George. I’ll fix the link.

  3. Doran Williams said

    “There’s somethin happenin here but you don’t know what it is, do ya, Mr. Jones.”

    Trawlers? Fishing boats, not military boats? Captains and crews pissed because they think the “acoustic equipment in the water” is screwing up the fishing, maybe.

    I have to admit, the sight of a bunch of scantily clad, dripping wet Chinese fishermen jumping around and chunking pieces of wood at one must be pretty damned scary…..

  4. Charles II said

    When Buffalo Springfield met Bob Dylan, they also got hosed, Doran. ;-)

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