The U.S. military conducted freedom-of-navigation operations to challenge the territorial claims of 22 countries in fiscal year 2016, according to a report released Monday.
The most publicized of those operations took place in the South China Sea, where the Navy challenged China’s claims to manmade islands in the body of water, and where other countries also claim territory.
“I know a lot of people when they talk about freedom-of-navigation operations, immediately jump to China. This is not about China, this is about the entire world and preserving freedom of navigation with a set standard of international law for the entire global commons,” Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said Monday. “You will see names on this report of friends and allies, Brazil, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand are among the countries that have excessive claims that we have challenged.”
A freedom-of-navigation operation occurs when the U.S. operates in an area that another nation claims as its own, but is viewed as no one’s territorial waters under international law.
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While the U.S. Navy did conduct multiple operations against China, it also did exercises against 21 other countries to challenge excessive maritime claims, including U.S. allies such as South Korea, which requires prior notification for foreign military or government vessels to enter the territorial sea.
Other countries whose claims were challenged are Albania, Brazil, Cambodia, Croatia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Venezuela and Vietnam. In Italy, for example, the U.S. challenged its claim of the Gulf of Taranto as a historic bay. The U.S. also challenged Japan for having excessive straight baselines, meaning the country draws its territorial lines around islands or a ragged coastline in a way that claims more territory than acceptable.
India, another U.S. ally, requires prior consent for other countries to conduct military exercises in its exclusive economic zone.
Most of those countries saw multiple challenges during the period from Oct. 1, 2015, to Sept. 30, 2016.
This post originally appeared on Washington Examiner