08:10 GMT +319 November 2019
Listen Live
    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.

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

    © AP Photo / Bullit Marquez
    Asia & Pacific
    Get short URL
    6634
    Subscribe

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Related:

    US Navy to Mount Laser Weapon on Amphibious Assault Vessel
    Missing WWII US Navy Submarine Discovered Off Hawaii (PHOTOS)
    Off Target: US Navy’s $500 Million Electromagnetic Rail Gun on Chopping Block
    US Navy Abolishes Practice of Pepper Spraying its Sailors Every Three Years
    US Navy Officers Charged With Negligent Homicide Following Deadly 2017 Crashes
    Tags:
    territorial claims, freedom of navigation, The US Navy, South China Sea, Spratly Islands, Paracel Islands
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik