Published: Thu, December 06, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

USA warship sails in Sea of Japan waters claimed by Russian Federation

USA warship sails in Sea of Japan waters claimed by Russian Federation

Equipped with Tomahawk missiles, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer sailed "in the vicinity" of Russian territory in the Sea of Japan to "uphold the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea", the US Navy said.

Just last week, the United States sent the USS Chancellorsville, a guided-missile cruiser, near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea to similarly challenge China's "excessive maritime claims", the Navy said.

Washington does not recognize Moscow's territorial claims beyond 12 miles off the coastline of the Peter the Great Bay, a large gulf located in the Sea of Japan, which is known as the East Sea on the nearby Korean Peninsula.

A US Navy official said the US does not recognise Russia's claims on the waters.

The U.S. frequently conducts freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea to challenge China's claims to islands which are contested by a number of countries in Southeast Asia. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US will suspend its obligations under the treaty in 60 days, and he accused Russian Federation of "cheating" on the deal.

"These operations demonstrate the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows", US Navy spokeswoman Rachel McMarr said. "That is true in the Sea of Japan, as in other places around the globe", her statement declared, The Hill reported.

Despite mentioning Russian Federation in her comments, McMarr said that such operations were "not about any one country, nor are they about current events".

While the US Navy conducts such freedom of navigation operations all over the world, they come under increased scrutiny when they are aimed at contesting claims made by Russian Federation and China.

"In reality, the USS McCampbell destroyer did not even approach Russian territorial waters closer than by 100 kilometres".

The McCampbell's operation comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Moscow on a range of issues, including the announcement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Tuesday that the US would pull out of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 60 days should Russian Federation fail to return to compliance. A spokesman for Putin said in response that a hoped-for U.S. -Russia summit in Washington "is now out of the question".

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