Alternate Title: Department of Defense Report to Congress: Annual Freedom of Navigation Report, Fiscal Year 1997
From the Document: "For 18 years, the U.S. Freedom of Navigation program has ensured that excessive coastal state claims over the world's oceans and airspace are repeatedly challenged. By diplomatic protests and operational assertions, the United States has insisted upon adherence by the nations of the world to the international law of the sea, as reflected in the UN Law of the Sea Convention. A significant majority of countries (over 120) are now Parties to the Convention, and there is an encouraging trend toward the rolling-back of excessive maritime claims. Nonetheless, some coastal states continue to assert maritime claims inconsistent with international law, which left unchallenged would limit navigational freedoms vital to U.S. national security and essential to peaceful uses of the world's oceans. In FY 1997, U.S. armed forces conducted operational assertions challenging the excessive maritime claims listed in the accompanying table. In addition, military vessels and aircraft frequently conducted routine transits through international straits, such as the Straits of Gibraltar, Hormuz, and Malacca. Air and surface units also transited the Indonesian Archipelago in archipelagic sea lane passage on 73 occasions and transited the Philippine Archipelago by exercising high seas freedoms, transit passage, and innocent passage, as applicable, on 4 7 occasions. Combined with robust and highly visible routine operations by U.S. forces on, over, and under the world's oceans, and scrupulous adherence by the United States to the navigational provisions of the UN Law of the Sea Convention, Freedom of Navigation operations have continued to underscore the U.S. commitment to a stable legal regime for the world's oceans."
Under Secretary of Defense for Policy: https://policy.defense.gov/