The U.S. military conducted “freedom of navigation” operations against 13 countries last year, including several to challenge China’s claims in the South and East China seas, according to an annual Pentagon report released on Monday.
The operations were against China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Libya, Malaysia, the Maldives, Oman, the Philippines and Vietnam, the report said.
It did not specify how many such operations were conducted against each of those countries. The U.S. military carried out single operations against Taiwan, Nicaragua and Argentina, for a total of 13 countries, the department said in the two-page report.
The freedom of navigation operations involve sending U.S. Navy ships and military aircraft into areas where other countries have tried to limit access. The aim is to demonstrate that the international community does not accept such restrictions.
The U.S. military has repeatedly conducted operations disputing China’s maritime claims in recent years and did so again in 2015, a year in which Beijing’s island-building activity in the resource-rich areas of the South China Sea led to rising tensions in the region. Read More