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Appendix I
FREEDOM OF NAVIGATION

FREEDOM OF NAVIGATION


For 19 years, the U.S. Freedom of Navigation program has ensured that excessive coastal state claims over the world’s oceans and airspace are repeatedly challenged. By diplomatic protests and operational assertions, the United States has insisted upon adherence by the nations of the world to the international law of the sea, as reflected in the UN Law of the Sea Convention. A significant majority of countries (130) are now Parties to the Convention, and there is an encouraging trend toward the rolling-back of excessive maritime claims. Nonetheless, some coastal states continue to assert maritime claims inconsistent with international law, which left unchallenged would limit navigational freedoms vital to U.S. national security and essential to peaceful uses of the world’s oceans.

In FY 1998, U.S. armed forces conducted operational assertions challenging the excessive maritime claims listed in the accompanying table. In addition, military vessels and aircraft frequently conducted routine transits through international straits, such as the Straits of Gibraltar, Hormuz, and Malacca. Air and surface units also transited the Indonesian Archipelago in archipelagic sea lanes passage on 20 occasions and transited the Philippine Archipelago by exercising high seas freedoms, transit passage, and innocent passage, as applicable, on 32 occasions. Combined with robust and highly visible routine operations by U.S. forces on, over, and under the world’s oceans, and scrupulous adherence by the United States to the navigational provisions of the UN Law of the Sea Convention, Freedom of Navigation operations have continued to underscore the U.S. commitment to a stable legal regime for the world’s oceans.

FY 1998 DOD OPERATIONAL ASSERTIONS

Country

Excessive Claims Challenged

Albania

Prior permission for warship to enter the territorial sea

Algeria

Prior permission for warship to enter the territorial sea

Bangladesh

Excessive straight baselines; claimed security zone

Burma

Excessive straight baselines; claimed security zone

Cambodia

Excessive straight baselines; claimed security zone

Croatia

Prior permission for warship to enter the territorial sea

Cuba

Require state aircraft to comply with directions from air traffic control within flight information region

El Salvador

200 nautical miles (nm) territorial sea

Iran

Excessive straight baselines; prior permission for warship to enter the territorial sea

Kenya

Excessive straight baselines; historic bay claim (Ungwana Bay)

Liberia

200 nm territorial sea

Libya

Claims all waters south of 32-30 north latitude Gulf of Sidra closure line as internal waters

Malaysia

Excessive restrictions on military activities in exclusive economic zone

Maldives

Prior permission for warship to enter the territorial sea

Malta

Prior permission for warship to enter the territorial sea

Nicaragua

200 nm territorial sea

Pakistan

Claimed security zone; excessive restrictions on military activities in the exclusive economic zone

Philippines

Excessive straight baselines; claims archipelagic waters as internal waters

Saudi Arabia

Excessive straight baselines; claimed security zone

Seychelles

Prior permission for warship to enter the territorial sea

Sierra Leone

200 nm territorial sea

Somalia

200 nm territorial sea; prior permission for warship to enter the territorial sea

Sudan

Prior permission for warship to enter the territorial sea; claimed security zone

Syria

35 nm territorial sea; prior permission for warship to enter the territorial sea

United Arab Emirates

Prior permission for warship to enter the territorial sea; claimed security zone

Viet Nam

Excessive straight baselines; claimed security zone; prior permission for warship to enter the territorial sea

Yemen

Prior permission for warship to enter the territorial sea; claimed security zone

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