The provocative maneuver is just the latest attempt by Washington to cast Russia as a rogue state that wantonly violates international law, and it comes on the heels of a similar action in the Taiwan Strait on Friday.
The US Navy announced on Tuesday that one of its warships, the USS John S. McCain, had performed a freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) just miles from Russia’s eastern port city of Vladivostok, where the Russian Pacific Fleet is headquartered.
US Warship Deterred
According to the US Seventh Fleet, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer was upholding “the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law by challenging Russia’s excessive maritime claims.”
The news release notes that in 1984, the Soviet Council of Ministers declared a system of straight baselines for parts of its eastern coast, including those that face the Pacific Ocean, Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk and, like Peter the Great Gulf, the Sea of Japan. Some of them Washington has decided to dispute.
“By drawing this closing line, the USSR attempted to claim more internal waters – and territorial sea farther from shore – than it is entitled to claim under international law. Russia has continued the USSR claim,” the Navy continued. “By conducting this operation, the United States demonstrated that these waters are not Russia’s territorial sea and that the United States does not acquiesce in Russia’s claim that Peter the Great is a…