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This post was edited by exportedkiwi at 2016-5-31 12:17|
Anyway, as part of this thread pertaining to the US role vis a vis the SCS, I've found this;
While the EEZ is sui generis—neither territorial seas nor high seas —the balance of rights and interests in the zone inure to the international community and not the coastal state. While it is true that coastal states enjoy limited rights in the EEZ, the term “international waters” is an accurate shorthand reference used by navies to describe all waters seaward of the territorial sea. While the coastal state has rather limited and circumscribed rights in the EEZ, the ships and aircraft of all nations enjoy all the high seas freedoms and other internationally uses of the seas, except those that interfere with narrowly prescribed coastal state rights, such as fishing. The EEZ was cut out of the high seas in order to grant coastal states a handful of limited rights, and it is correct as a matter of law to describe the zone as “international waters” for military purposes.
Articles 58(2), 86 and 87 of UNCLOS and the negotiating history of the convention, as well as longstanding customary international law, make clear that all nations enjoy high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight, and other internationally lawful uses of the seas associated with those freedoms, in and over the EEZ. These other internationally lawful uses include the full range of foreign military activities, such as deterrence patrols, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and air and naval exercises and operations. Ironically, China apparently still objects to U.S. military activities in its EEZ, even as the People’s Liberation Army (Navy) does the same thing in the U.S. EEZ of Hawaii and Guam.
China has accused the United States of “militarizing” the SCS through freedom of navigation (FON) operations and naval exercises with partner states, while characterizing its massive military buildup in the region as limited and necessary for “self-defense.” But the U.S. rebalance, Australian submarine program, and unprecedented regional naval buildup underway from New Delhi to Tokyo is a direct consequence of China’s turn toward coercive tactics at sea and reliance on a newly-minted blue-water battle fleet to change the status quo. It is unclear why China sees a handful of periodic FON operations as provocative since the United States and other nations have operated in the region for centuries.
China, on the other hand, appears bent on owning the South China Sea. States are rightly worried. Beijing’s breathtaking leaps in the quantity and quality of its naval and air capabilities, including new generation platforms and advanced weapons systems, appears designed to intimidate its neighbors and decouple the United States from its allies and regional partners. China has also enhanced its maritime law enforcement capabilities, and outfitted a distributed fleet of maritime militia to coerce its neighbors in peacetime and serve as an inexpensive force multiplier in the event of an armed conflict. China additionally has built airstrips on disputed features in the SCS capable of accommodating every military aircraft in the PLA inventory, constructed military installations on these features to control the surrounding seascape, and deployed surface-to-air missiles to the Paracel Islands in order to expand its anti-access/area denial envelope.
https://news.usni.org/2016/03/28 ... hina-sea#more-18770
How is this relevant to this thread? Well, it's quite simple really. The US is keeping the area free to navigate, as stated in "Articles 58(2), 86 and 87 of UNCLOS and the negotiating history of the convention, as well as longstanding customary international law, make clear that all nations enjoy high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight, and other internationally lawful uses of the seas associated with those freedoms, in and over the EEZ." This is clearly a policing role.