The U.S. Navy conducts freedom of navigation operations worldwide to demonstrate the United States’ commitment to uphold the rights, freedoms, access and lawful uses of international waters and airspace guaranteed to all nations, the U.S. Navy announced with two press releases.
According to the announcements of the U.S. Navy, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) operated in the Spratly Islands, July 14. This freedom of navigation operation upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea, recognized in international law, by challenging restrictions on innocent passage imposed by China, Vietnam, and Taiwan. Another missile destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91) challenged Venezuela’s excessive maritime claim in international waters during a successful freedom of navigation operation in the Caribbean Sea.
Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea threaten the freedom of the seas, including the freedoms of navigation and overflight, free trade and unimpeded commerce, and freedom of economic opportunity for South China Sea littoral nations.
In the Caribbean Sea, the illegitimate Maduro regime improperly claims excessive controls over those international waters, which extend three miles beyond the 12-mile territorial sea, a claim that is inconsistent with international law.
The U.S. challenges excessive maritime claims around the world regardless of the identity of the claimant. The international community has an enduring role in preserving the freedom of the seas, which is critical to global security, stability, and prosperity.
U.S. forces continue to operate in the South China Sea as well as the Caribbean Sea on a daily basis, as they have for more than a century.