Summary translation: China demands freedom from the United States to collect intelligence in U.S. Exclusive Economic Zones in the name of U.S. principles and domestic laws. China denies the United States reciprocal freedoms in the name of China’s own domestic laws.
Such lack of reciprocity flies in the face of international legal principles and support for an equitable, well-functioning international system. However, Beijing’s emerging tool of choice to promote its interests in this and some other important areas is not international law, but rather high-level political rhetoric and relationship management.
via PRC National Defense Ministry Spokesman Sr. Col. Geng Yansheng Offers China’s Most-Detailed Position to Date on Dongdiao-class Ship’s Intelligence Collection in U.S. EEZ during RIMPAC Exercise | Andrew S. Erickson.
To be a bit fair, we’ve been flying intel sorties off China since about 1949, as well as driving ships and subs in the area to gather intel. You’ve probably seen the news that China, in addition to being invited to RIMPAC 14, also sent a ferret ship to loiter in the area, uninvited. It’s somewhat rude, but perfectly legal. To my knowledge, that’s about as far east as they’ve ever sent a dedicated intel platform.