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End military surveillance missions, China to US

world Updated: Aug 27, 2009 21:50 IST

AP
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China demanded on Thursday that the US military cease its surveillance missions off the Chinese coast, reviving a dispute that continues to upset relations between the sides.

Bilateral ties have been repeatedly roiled this year by standoffs between Chinese vessels and US Navy surveillance ships operating inside China's exclusive economic zone.

China insists it has a right to restrict foreign military surveillance within its zone, but the US says international agreements permit it to carry out such missions.

"China believes the constant US military air and sea surveillance and survey operations in China's exclusive economic zone had led to military confrontations between the two sides," the official Xinhua News Agency said, quoting a Defence Ministry statement.

"The way to resolve China-US maritime incidents is for the US to change its surveillance and survey operations policies against China, decrease and eventually stop such operations," the statement said.

The demand came at the close of a two-day meeting on Thursday in Beijing, conducted under the 1998 China-US Military Maritime Consultative Agreement, which was supposed to provide a framework for resolving incidents between their forces.

China, however, has chosen to largely ignore the agreement during subsequent confrontations, including a 2001 aerial collision between a US surveillance plane and a Chinese fighter jet over the South China Sea.