- Sputnik International
Find top stories and features from Asia and the Pacific region. Keep updated on major political stories and analyses from Asia and the Pacific. All you want to know about China, Japan, North and South Korea, India and Pakistan, Southeast Asia and Oceania.

US Navy Vessels Challenge China’s ‘Excessive Maritime Claims’

© AP Photo / Bullit MarquezUS Navy amphibious assault vehicles with Philippine and US troops on board maneuver in the waters during a combined exercise in the South China Sea.
US Navy amphibious assault vehicles with Philippine and US troops on board maneuver in the waters during a combined exercise in the South China Sea. - Sputnik International
The US Navy’s just-released annual report on freedom-of-navigation (FON) operations indicates that US vessels challenged what Washington calls excessive maritime claims by China more than they did similar claims by any other country.

The US Defense Department challenged six Chinese maritime claims near the South China Sea's Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands, and more broadly around the South and East China Seas, according to the department's yearly disclosure of freedom-of-navigation operations.

An aerial file photo taken though a glass window of a Philippine military plane shows the alleged land reclamation by China on Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan, Philippines, May 11, 2015 - Sputnik International
US, India Pitch for Freedom of Navigation in South China Sea Irks China

The excessive claims identified by DoD include "domestic laws criminalizing survey activity by foreign entities" in the South China Sea, restrictions on foreign aircraft entering airspace over the East and South China Seas and "actions/statements that indicate a claim to [the territorial seas] around features not so entitled." The department also found the Chinese law requiring prior permission for "innocent passage of foreign military ships" near the Paracel Islands to be an objectionable claim.

The FON assertions amount to "operations that have the primary purpose of challenging excessive maritime claims" but are not only applied to adversaries or potential adversaries.
Vague geographic locations were included in the unclassified report "to transparently demonstrate non-acquiescence in excessive maritime claims while still maintaining operational security of US military forces."

All missions are "deliberately planned, legally reviewed, properly approved and conducted with professionalism," the report states. The report is dated December 31, 2017, but was published on USNI News January 25.

USS Momsen - Sputnik International
US Missile Destroyer Arrives in Philippines to Reinforce Freedom of Navigation

Beijing has expressed displeasure over previous FON operations. When the USS Chafee went into China's claimed territorial waters last October, the Chinese Foreign Ministry told reporters, "the Chinese side immediately sent naval ships and fighter planes to identify and verify the US warship, according to law, and expel it."

"The relevant behavior of the US warship has violated the Chinese law and relevant international law, severely undermined China's sovereignty and security interests [and] put in jeopardy the life safety of the frontline personnel from both sides," spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at the time.

To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала