VOL. 26 - NO. 2
JAN 17 - 24, 2021
PO BOX 13283
OAKLAND, CA 94661-0283

510.595.7777 FAX

Joint Forces Journal is published privately, and in no way is connected with DoD, the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard. This website and the printed newspaper are intended for the members of the Armed Forces and their families. Contents do not necessarily reflect official views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard, and do not imply endorsements thereof. The marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchases, user or patron for advertisers prohibited. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. Editorial content is prepared and edited privately, and is provided by the Public Affairs Office of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard installations. Correspondence and material for publication should be addressed to: Editor, Joint Forces Journal, P.O. Box 13283, Oakland, CA, 94661-0283. Deadline for receiving articles and photos is 3 p.m. Monday for publication on Friday of that week. Joint Forces Journal editorial policy is to use bylines and photo credits where applicable and when submitted.

USS John S. McCain Challenges Russia's Claims to Peter the Great Bay in Sea of Japan

Nov 27, 2020
by Caitlin Doornbos
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan -- The Navy recently sent another warship to challenge maritime claims in the Western Pacific, this time in an area claimed by Russia, according to a 7th Fleet spokesman.

The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain, based at Yokosuka, "asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the vicinity of Peter the Great Bay in the Sea of Japan," with a freedom of navigation operation aimed at challenging Russia's "excessive maritime claims," Lt. Joe Keiley said.

Named for Czar Peter the Great, who ruled Russia from 1682 to 1725, the bay is the largest in the Sea of Japan and comprises about 377,600 square miles. The Soviet Union in 1984 claimed the bay as its internal waters, drawing a 106-nautical-mile line from its adjacent coasts to enclose the bay.

After the Soviet Union's fall, Russia continued the claim, which the Navy said is "inconsistent with the rules of international law as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention to enclose the waters of a bay," Keiley said.

"By drawing this closing line, the U.S.S.R. attempted to claim more internal waters -- and territorial sea farther from shore -- than it is entitled to claim under international law," he said.

"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 ‘historic bay' under international law," Keiley added.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that when the McCain crossed about 1.2 miles into the bay, its anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Vinogradov threatened the ship via an international communication channel that it would "force (the McCain) out of the country's territorial waters in a ramming maneuver" if they did not leave, according to the state-owned TASS news website.

"After the warming was issued and the Admiral Vinogradov changed its course, the USS John S. McCain destroyer returned to international waters," the ministry said, according to TASS.

Keiley called Russia's allegation "false," adding that "USS John S. McCain was not ‘expelled' from any nation's territory."

"McCain conducted this FONOP in accordance with international law and continued to conduct normal operations in international waters," Keiley said. "The United States will never bow in intimidation or be coerced into accepting illegitimate maritime claims, such as those made by the Russian Federation."

Freedom-of-navigation operations are intended to refute territorial claims and demonstrate a right to open navigation, according to the Navy.

Since 2017, the 7th Fleet has steadily increased its freedom-of-navigation operations, which typically target Chinese maritime claims in the South and East China seas. This year, the Navy has sent at least six vessels near contested islands in both seas to challenge Beijing's claims there.

This was the first U.S. operation challenging Russian claims to Peter the Great Bay since December 2018, according to the Navy.

"As long as some countries continue to assert maritime claims that are inconsistent with international law as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention and that purport to restrict unlawfully the rights and freedoms enjoyed by all states, the United States will continue to defend the rights and freedoms of the sea guaranteed to all," Keiley said.

* * * * *

Photo caption: Ensign James Bateman scans the horizon while standing watch on the on the bridge wing as the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) conducts routine underway operations, Nov. 24, 2020. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Markus Castaneda)


Coast Guard Repatriates 110 Haitians Aboard an Overloaded Boat

Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships Will Be on the Front Lines in the Pacific

The Marine Corps Has Started Fielding 30,000 Rifle Suppressors to Combat Units

Navy Super Hornet Launches from 'Ski Jump' to Prove it Can Fly Off Foreign Carriers

The Army Is Pursuing a Device That Can Turn Battlefield Ditch Water into Lifesaving IV Fluid

TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: TheatreWorks Silicon Valley Offers Three World Premiere Livestream Performances by Hershey Felder

Air Force Planning Hangar Construction for Future B-21 Stealth Bombers

TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: "Immersive Van Gogh" Extends through September 6, 2021

TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: Oakland Zoo Backs New Initiative Aimed at Ending Zoonotic Disease Threats