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UNCLASSIFIED

STATE 162460
Subject: PROTEST OF THAILAND EXCESSIVE MARITIME CLAIMS
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USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI

NAVAL WAR COLLEGE NEWPORT RI
UNCLAS STATE 162460
E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PBTS, PHSA, FAIR, MARR, TH

SUBJECT: PROTEST OF THAILAND EXCESSIVE MARITIME CLAIMS
REF: STATE 11597
1. THIS IS AN ACTION REQUEST. POST IS REQUESTED TO DELIVER

THE DIPLOMATIC NOTE SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH 5 TO THE

APPROPRIATE LEVEL OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THAILAND (GOT).

FOLLOWING DELIVERY OF THE NOTE, POST IS REQUESTED TO REPORT

THE DATE OF THE NOTE, DATE OF DELIVERY AND THE REACTION OF

THE GOT, IF ANY.



UNCLASSIFIED 1

UNCLASSIFIED



2. SUMMARY: THE DEPARTMENT HAS COMPLETED AN ANALYSIS OF THAILAND'S CLAIMS TO STRAIGHT BASELINE SYSTEMS ALONG ITS COAST WHICH WERE MADE IN THREE ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THAILAND'S OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER IN 1970 AND 1992. THE GOT MEASURES THE LIMITS OF ITS TERRITORIAL SEA AND OTHER MARITIME ZONES FROM THESE STRAIGHT BASELINES. THE UNITED STATES VIEWS A NUMBER OF THE GOT'S CLAIMS AS NOT IN CONFORMITY WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW REGARDING BASELINES, AS REFLECTED IN THE 1958 CONVENTION ON THE TERRITORIAL SEA AND CONTIGUOUS ZONE, AND THE 1982 UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA (UNCLOS). IN PARTICULAR, STRAIGHT BASELINES MAY ONLY BE EMPLOYED IN LOCALITIES WHERE THE COASTLINE IS DEEPLY INDENTED AND CUT INTO, OR IF THERE IS A FRINGE OF ISLANDS ALONG THE COAST IN ITS IMMEDIATE VICINITY. BASELINES ESTABLISHED BY A COASTAL STATE MUST NOT DEPART TO ANY APPRECIABLE EXTENT FROM THE GENERAL DIRECTION OF THE COAST. IN SEVERAL AREAS, THE GOT CLAIMS DO NOT MEET THESE ESTABLISHED GEOGRAPHICAL CONDITIONS THAT MUST BE MET TO PERMIT THE USE OF STRAIGHT BASELINES RATHER THAN THE LOW-WATER LINE ALONG THE COAST TO DELIMIT THE VARIOUS MARITIME ZONES. THE UNITED STATES IS NOT SINGLING OUT THAILAND FOR CRITICISM. OUR OBJECTIONS ARE PART OF OUR WORLDWIDE EFFORT TO PRESERVE THE INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY IN NAVIGATION END SUMMARY.
3. BEGIN BACKGROUND (POST MAY WISH TO DRAW ON THESE POINTS, THE TALKING POINTS IN PARAGRAPH 4, AND THE SUBSTANCE OF THE NOTE IN PARAGRAPH 5 IF THE GOT IS WILLING TO ENGAGE IN ANY DIALOGUE ON THIS ISSUE) :
THE GOT'S CLAIMS TO STRAIGHT BASELINES WERE MADE IN THREE ANNOUNCEMENTS BY THE OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER IN 1970 AND 1992. THE JUNE 12, 1970 ANNOUNCEMENT ESTABLISHES STRAIGHT BASELINE SYSTEMS ALONG THREE AREAS OF THAILAND'S COASTS; TWO IN THE GULF OF THAILAND AND ONE AT THE NORTHERN ENTRANCE TO THE STRAIT OF MALACCA. THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF AUGUST 11, 1992 AMENDED CERTAIN GEOGRAPHICAL COORDINATES AND NAMES IN THE 1970 CLAIM. THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF AUGUST 17, 1992 CREATED A FOURTH STRAIGHT BASELINE CLAIM IN THE GULF OF THAILAND.
THE UNITED STATES CONCERN WITH THE GOT BASELINE CLAIMS EXIST ON TWO LEVELS THE GOT EXCESSIVE STRAIGHT BASELINES RESULT IN WATERS BEING CLAIMED AS INTERNAL WATERS THAT SHOULD REMAIN AS TERRITORIAL SEA OR HIGH SEAS AND IN BROADER EXTENSION OF THAILAND'S MARITIME LIMITS. BOTH SITUATIONS INFRINGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY'S NAVIGATION RIGHTS IN SPECIFIC AREAS OF THE SEAS OFF THE COAST OF THAILAND. SECOND, AND PERHAPS MORE IMPORTANTLY, THE GOT CLAIMS, IF LEFT UNPROTESTED, COULD INFLUENCE THE DEVELOPMENT OF INTERNATIONAL PRACTICE GENERALLY AND RUN COUNTER TO EXISTING PRINCIPLES OF INTERNATIONAL LAW. SUCH ASSERTIONS OF SOVEREIGNTY THAT EXCEED WHAT INTERNATIONAL LAW ALLOWS MUST BE CONFRONTED OR OUR RIGHTS WILL DIMINISH AS . WE MAY BE SEEN TO ACQUIESCE IN SUCH CLAIMS. FOR THESE REASONS THE UNITED STATES HAS PROTESTED EXCESSIVE CLAIMS BY BURMA (REFTEL), VIETNAM AND MANY OTHER COUNTRIES.
END BACKGROUND
4. BEGIN TALKING POINTS

UNCLASSIFIED
- I HAVE BEEN ASKED TO CONVEY TO YOU THE CONCERNS OF MY GOVERNMENT REGARDING THE STRAIGHT BASELINES OFF THE COAST OF THAILAND ANNOUNCED BY THE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THAILAND'S PRIME MINISTER ON JUNE 12, 1970, AUGUST 11, 1992 AND AUGUST 17, 1992.
- AS IS SET FORTH IN THE NOTE I HAVE BEEN ASKED TO GIVE YOU, THE UNITED STATES FIRMLY BELIEVES THAT THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A NUMBER OF THESE BASELINES IS NOT IN

ACCORDANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW, INCLUDING THE 1958 CONVENTION ON THE TERRITORIAL SEA AND THE CONTIGUOUS ZONE AND THE 1982 UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA.


- BOTH THAILAND AND THE UNITED STATES ARE PARTY TO THE 1958 CONVENTIONADDITIONALLY, SINCE 1983, THE UNITED STATES HAS ACCEPTED THE NON-SEABED PROVISIONS OF THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA (UNCLOS) AS REFLECTING CUSTOMARY INTERNATIONAL LAW AND HAS ACTED ACCORDINGLY.
- I WISH TO ASSURE YOU THAT MY GOVERNMENT'S OBJECTIONS TO THESE STRAIGHT BASELINES SHOULD NOT BE VIEWED AS SINGLING OUT THAILAND FOR CRITICISM OUR OBJECTIONS ARE PART OF OUR WORLDWIDE EFFORT TO PRESERVE THE INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY IN NAVIGATION, AND THEREBY MAINTAIN THE BALANCE OF INTERESTS REFLECTED IN THE 1958 AND 1982 CONVENTIONS.
- THIS IS ONLY ONE OF A NUMBER OF U S DEMARCHES MADE OVER THE YEARS CONCERNING MARITIME CLAIMS MADE BY COASTAL STATES THAT ARE NOT CONSISTENT WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW, AS REFLECTED IN THE 1982 CONVENTION.
- AS THESE ARE MATTERS OF CONSIDERABLE IMPORTANCE TO BOTH OUR COUNTRIES IN MAINTAINING THE BALANCE OF INTERESTS SET OUT IN THE 1958 AND 1982 CONVENTIONS, THE UNITED STATES WOULD WELCOME THE OPPORTUNITY TO DISCUSS THESE MATTERS FURTHER BETWEEN EXPERTS FROM OUR TWO GOVERNMENTS, WITH A VIEW TOWARDS SEEKING A COMMON UNDERSTANDING OF THE RULES OF INTERNATIONAL LAW GOVERNING THESE ISSUES.
END TALKING POINTS

5. BEGIN TEXT OF U S NOTE (COMPLIMENTARY OPENING) AND HAS THE HONOR TO REFER THE GOVERNMENT OF THAILAND TO THE ANNOUNCEMENTS OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER OF JUNE 12, 1970, AUGUST 11, 1992 AND AUGUST 17, 1992 WHICH ESTABLISH STRAIGHT BASELINES IN FOUR AREAS OFF PORTIONS OF THE COAST OF THAILAND IN THE GULF OF THAILAND AND NEAR THE STRAIT OF MALACCA AND CLAIM THE WATERS LANDWARD OF THE BASELINES AS INTERNAL WATERS.


THE UNITED STATES WISHES TO RECALL THAT BOTH THE UNITED STATES AND THAILAND ARE PARTY TO THE 1958 CONVENTION ON THE TERRITORIAL SEA AND THE CONTIGUOUS ZONE.
THE UNITED STATES ADDITIONALLY WISHES TO RECALL THAT, WHILE THE UNITED STATES IS NOT YET A PARTY TO THE 1982 UNITED
UNCLASSIFIED 3

UNCLASSIFIED
NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA, AS ANNOUNCED IN THE PRESIDENT'S UNITED STATES OCEANS POLICY STATEMENT OF MARCH 10, 1983, THE UNITED STATES WILL EXERCISE AND ASSERT ITS NAVIGATION AND OVERFLIGHT RIGHTS IN A MANNER THAT IS CONSISTENT WITH THE BALANCE OF INTERESTS REFLECTED IN THE 1982 CONVENTION AND ACCEPTS THE NON-SEABED MINING PROVISIONS OF THE CONVENTION AS DECLARATIVE OF CUSTOMARY INTERNATIONAL LAW INCLUDING THE PRINCIPLES THAT UNDERLIE PROPER AND LEGAL ESTABLISHMENT OF BASELINES.
THE UNITED STATES NOTES THAT THE RULES FOR DRAWING BASELINES ARE CONTAINED IN ARTICLES 3 - 13 OF THE 1958 CONVENTION. ARTICLE 3 STATES THAT "EXCEPT WHERE OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN THIS CONVENTION, THE NORMAL BASELINE FOR MEASURING THE BREADTH OF THE TERRITORIAL SEA IS THE LOW-WATER LINE ALONG THE COAST " PARAGRAPH ONE OF ARTICLE 4 STATES THAT STRAIGHT BASELINES MAY BE DRAWN ONLY IN TWO SPECIFIC GEOGRAPHIC SITUATIONS, THAT IS "IN LOCALITIES WHERE THE COASTLINE IS DEEPLY INDENTED AND COT INTO," OR "IF THERE IS A FRINGE OF ISLANDS ALONG THE COAST IN ITS IMMEDIATE VICINITY " ARTICLES 1 -11 AND 13 - 14 OF THE 1982 CONVENTION REAFFIRM THESE RULES.
THE UNITED STATES WISHES TO RECALL THAT THE PURPOSE OF AUTHORIZING STRAIGHT BASELINES IS TO ALLOW THE COASTAL STATE, AT ITS DISCRETION, TO ENCLOSE THOSE WATERS, WHICH AS A RESULT OF THEIR CLOSE INTERRELATIONSHIP WITH THE LAND, HAVE THE CHARACTER OF INTERNAL WATERS BY USING STRAIGHT BASELINES, A STATE MAY ALSO ELIMINATE COMPLEX PATTERNS, INCLUDING ENCLAVES, IN ITS TERRITORIAL SEA, THAT WOULD OTHERWISE RESULT. PROPERLY DRAWN STRAIGHT BASELINES DO NOT RESULT IN EXTENDING THE LIMITS OF THE TERRITORIAL SEA SIGNIFICANTLY SEAWARD FROM THOSE THAT WOULD RESULT FROM THE USE OF NORMAL, LOW-WATER LINE BASELINES. MOREOVER, THE USE OF STRAIGHT BASELINES IN A MANNER THAT PREJUDICES INTERNATIONAL NAVIGATION, OVERFLIGHT, AND COMMUNICATIONS RUNS COUNTER TO THE BALANCE OF INTERESTS REFLECTED IN THE 1958 AND 1982 CONVENTIONS.
WITH REGARD TO STRAIGHT BASELINES JUSTIFIED ON THE BASIS OF FRINGING ISLANDS ALONG THE COAST IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY, THE UNITED STATES HAS TAKEN THE POSITION THAT SUCH A FRINGE OF ISLANDS MUST MEET ALL OF THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENTS:
- THE MOST LANDWARD POINT OF EACH ISLAND LIES NO MORE THAN 24 MILES FORM THE MAINLAND COASTLINE;
- EACH ISLAND TO WHICH A STRAIGHT BASELINE IS TO BE DRAWN IS NOT MORE THAN 24 MILES APART FROM THE ISLAND FORM WHICH THE STRAIGHT BASELINE IS DRAWN; AND
- THE ISLANDS AS A WHOLE, MASK AT LEAST 50 PERCENT OF THE MAINLAND COASTLINE IN ANY GIVEN LOCALITY.
ADDITIONALLY, THE UNITED STATES HAS TAKEN THE POSITION THAT, TO BE CONSISTENT WITH THE 1958 CONVENTION'S ARTICLE 4, PARAGRAPH 2 AND ARTICLE 7(3) OF THE 1982 CONVENTION, STRAIGHT BASELINE SEGMENTS MUST:
- NOT DEPART TO ANY APPRECIABLE EXTENT FROM THE GENERAL
UNCLASSIFIED 4

UNCLASSIFIED
DIRECTION OF THE COASTLINE, BY REFERENCE TO GENERAL DIRECTION LINES WHICH IN EACH LOCALITY SHALL NOT EXCEED 60 MILES IN LENGTH;
- NOT EXCEED 24 MILES IN LENGTH, AND
- RESULT IN SEA AREAS SITUATED LANDWARD OF THE STRAIGHT BASELINE SEGMENTS THAT ARE SUFFICIENTLY CLOSELY LINKED TO THE LAND DOMAIN TO BE SUBJECT TO THE REGIME OF INTERNAL WATERS
THE UNITED STATES WISHES TO INFORM THE GOVERNMENT OF THAILAND THAT AFTER ANALYZING THE FOUR AREAS OF STRAIGHT BASELINES ESTABLISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THAILAND'S 1970 AND 1992 ANNOUNCEMENTS, THE UNITED STATES HAS CONCLUDED THAT TWO OF THE AREAS DO NOT MEET THE INTERNATIONAL LEGAL CRITERIA SET FORTH ABOVE:
THE UNITED STATES BELIEVES THAT THE STRAIGHT BASELINES CLAIMED IN AREA 1, WHICH IS SITUATED ALONG THAILAND'S SOUTHEAST COAST IN THE NORTHEAST PART OF THE GULF OF THAILAND NEAR THE CAMBODIA-THAILAND LAND BOUNDARY, MEET THE INTERNATIONAL CRITERIA. THE STRAIGHT BASELINES ENCLOSE KO CHANG AND KO KUT ISLANDS AND NUMEROUS SMALLER ISLANDS, AND THE WATER DEPTHS LANDWARD OF THE ISLANDS ARE RELATIVELY SHALLOW. THE SEVEN STRAIGHT BASELINE SEGMENTS RANGE IN LENGTHS FROM 3 2 TO 20 MILES. ONE BASELINE DIVERTS FROM THE GENERAL DIRECTION OF THE COAST, BUT SERVES TO BRING THE STRAIGHT BASELINE SYSTEM BACK TO THE COAST. NONE OF THE ISLANDS IS MORE THAN 24 MILES FROM THE COAST AND THE ISLAND SYSTEM CAN BE CONSIDERED AS FRINGING THE MAINLAND COAST. THUS, THE STRAIGHT BASELINES IN AREA 1 MEET THE GEOGRAPHIC CRITERIA IN INTERNATIONAL LAW. SIMILARLY, THE UNITED STATES BELIEVES THAT THE BASELINES IN AREA 3, WHICH IS A 125-MILE STRETCH OF COASTLINE FACING THE NORTHERN ENTRANCE TO THE STRAIT OF MALACCA ALSO MEET THE INTERNATIONAL CRITERIA.
AREA 2 IS IN THE WESTERN GULF OF THAILAND. IN THIS APPROXIMATELY 100-MILE STRETCH, THE COASTLINE IS RELATIVELY SMOOTH WITH SLIGHT INDENTATIONS AND A SPRINKLE OF OFFSHORE ISLETS AND ROCKS. AT ITS SOUTHERN EXTENT, THE COAST CREATES AN L SHAPE WITH SEVERAL MEDIUM SIZED ISLANDS. ONLY IN THIS AREA MIGHT A FEW STRAIGHT BASELINE SEGMENTS HE VALID. THE FIRST FIVE SEGMENTS IN AREA 2 ARE CONNECTED TO ROCKS AND SMALL ISLETS AND NOT A FRINGE OF ISLANDS. SEGMENT 6-7 IS OVER 33 MILES LONG AND CONNECTS A SMALL ISLET TO KO TAO, A SMALL ISLAND ABOUT 40 MILES FROM THE MAINLAND. FROM KO TAO STRAIGHT BASELINES ARE DRAWN TO MIN BAO, A SMALL ISLET ALSO ABOUT 40 MILES FROM THE COAST AND THEN TO KO PHANGAN AND TO KO SAMUI. IN TOTAL, THE UNITED STATES BELIEVES THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF THAILAND HAS CLAIMED ABOUT 3,000 SQUARE NAUTICAL MILES (10,290 SQUARE KILOMETERS) IN AREA 2 AS INTERNAL WATERS THAT SHOULD, UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW HAVE THE LEGAL STATUS AS EITHER HIGH SEAS, EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OR TERRITORIAL SEA.
AREA 4 IS A CONTINUATION OF AREA 2'S BASELINES IN THE SOUTHWESTERN PART OF THE GULF OF THAILAND. ALONG THIS 230-MILE STRETCH, THAILAND'S COASTLINE IS NOT DEEPLY INDENTED NOR ARE THERE A FRINGE OF ISLANDS IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY. THE BASELINE SEGMENTS RANGE FROM 65 3 MILES TO CLOSE TO 100 MILES AND ONLY A FEW SMALL ISLETS SITUATED BETWEEN 20 AND 30
UNCLASSIFIED 5

UNCLASSIFIED
MILES FROM THE COAST SERVE AS BASEPOINTS. IN TOTAL, IN AREA 4, THE UNITED STATES BELIEVES THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF THAILAND HAS CLAIMED AS INTERNAL WATERS AN AREA APPROXIMATELY 8,400 SQUARE NAUTICAL MILES (28,812 SQUARE KILOMETERS) THAT SHOULD PROPERLY HAVE THE LEGAL STATUS OF EITHER TERRITORIAL SEAS, EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OR HIGH SEAS.
IN SUM, IT IS THE VIEW OF THE UNITED STATES THAT THE VARIOUS STRAIGHT BASELINE SEGMENTS NOTED ABOVE DRAWN BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THAILAND DO NOT MEET THE CRITERIA CONTAINED IN THE 1958 AND 1982 CONVENTIONS AND, THEREFORE, HAVE NO BASIS IN INTERNATIONAL LAW. IN THE VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES RESERVES ITS RIGHTS AND THE RIGHTS OF ITS NATIONALS IN THIS REGARD.
(COMPLIMENTARY CLOSING)
END TEXT OF U S NOTE

ALBRIGHT


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