Nothing in UNCLOS supports China's excessive restrictions on military and intelligence activities within its EEZ
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As previously discussed, coastal states lack security interests in the EEZ. Nothing in UNCLOS supports the PRC position. Similarly, the Chinese position that the freedom of overflight reflected in UNCLOS article 58 is a narrow right, including only the right to transit the airspace above the EEZ, is not supported by UNCLOS, other international agreements, or state practice. On the contrary, the negotiating history of UNCLOS and state practice before, during, and after UNCLOS support the conclusion that freedoms of navigation and overflight in the EEZ are broad freedoms; it is coastal-state rights in the EEZ that are narrowly limited. As we have seen, UNCLOS article 58 is quite clear: all states enjoy the freedoms of navigation and overflight and other internationally lawful uses of the seas related to these freedoms, such as those associated with the operation of ships and aircraft. Long-standing state practice supports the position that surveillance and reconnaissance operations conducted in international airspace be- yond the twelve-nautical-mile territorial sea are lawful activities. Since the end of World War II, surveillance and reconnaissance operations in international airspace have become a matter of routine. Many nations, including the PRC, en- gage in such activities on a routine basis. Moreover, as previously discussed, UNCLOS article 19.2(c) prohibits intelligence-gathering activities by ships en- gaged in innocent passage through the territorial sea—as noted above, no simi- lar prohibition is contained in part V of UNCLOS, and therefore, surveillance and reconnaissance activities are permitted in the EEZ. The PRC has an obliga- tion under UNCLOS article 56 to exercise its limited resource-related rights in the EEZ with due regard for the rights of other states to engage in lawful military activities, including surveillance and reconnaissance operations, in the zone.