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Thursday, January 18th 2018, 2:55pm

Bering Strait Incident - In Character Discussions Only

This thread is for in-character discussions of the arbiter (Germany) and the disputant powers (China, Russian Federation) only.

A separate thread for out-of-character comments and comments by non-disputant powers can be found here.


Thursday, January 18th 2018, 3:21pm

Opening Statement by the German Government

The German Government, having been selected by the governments of the Chinese Empire and the Russian Federation to serve as arbiter in the dispute known familiarly as “The Bering Strait Incident” names Carl-August Mosler to serve as special master to receive and review arguments pertaining to this case.

Disputant parties are hereby requested to prepare and submit their initial statement of facts and position to the special master within thirty days.


Thursday, January 18th 2018, 8:04pm


Statement of Facts
On January 14th, the Chinese government invited Ambassador Adamov of the Russian Federation to discuss a number of economic issues in a diplomatic venue. During these diplomatic discussions which took place shortly thereafter, the Chinese government requested, amongst other things, expanded rights to fly into Russian airports, the request to discuss the abolition of customs duties, a request for access to Russian jet engine technology, the license-manufacture of Russian trucks in China, an expansion of the railway connection between Russia and China, and a request to collaborate in exploration of the Arctic Ocean region.

The Russian Federation agreed to collaborate with the railway project and agreed to review proposals to allow the license-manufacturing of trucks. On the issue of abolition of customs duties, Ambassador Adamov declared that this option would not be considered. In response to the Chinese request to open Russian airports to Chinese airlines, Ambassador Adamov indicated that this was unlikely in the short term; Russian studies have shown that there is currently not enough air travel between Russia and China to justify the cost associated with opening customs offices in most of the locations requested by China. However, Ambassador Adamov indicated some more limited concessions could be made in the near future.

With regard to the issue of Arctic exploration, Ambassador Adamov sounded out Chinese intentions on the matter, whereupon he was informed that China wished to expand their economic interests in the Arctic, for both scientific and resource-extraction purposes. China's reasoning for their need to engage in this expansion was stated as due to China being the world's largest population group.

In response to the Chinese invitation for collaboration, Ambassador Adamov declined emphatically, stating that Russia has no need to collaborate with anyone in the exploration of the Arctic. He further noted that any Chinese efforts to conduct the aforementioned economic expansion into the Arctic, beyond the line of the Bering Strait, would be interpreted by Russia as an act of aggression and a strategic challenge to the Russian Federation. No further discussion occurred with regards to Arctic events.

On January 21st, it was discovered by means of an article in the Shanghai Telegraph that the icebreaking seaplane carrier Zhuhai was being urgently prepared for an immediate mission to the Arctic, with the stated intent of passing the Bering Strait. Russia had received no prior intelligence of this expedition. Initial investigation indicated that, while reasonable preparations for the Zhuhai's Arctic expedition must have been undertaken prior to China's discussion with the Russian Federation less than a week earlier, those preparations appear to have been immediately accelerated in the aftermath of the joint discussions only a few days prior.

With these fresh events in mind, it was the opinion of the Russian Federation government that China had determined to test Russian resolve by staging a confrontation in the Bering Straits. The Russian government immediately sent a diplomatic cable to Beijing advising them for the second time that Chinese activities beyond the Bering Straits would be regarded as a strategic challenge to the Russian Federation. No official response was received, and the Zhuhai sailed shortly thereafter for the Arctic. With this action, the Russian Federation government determined that China had fully committed to staging a provocative confrontation between their two states.

The Russian Federation decided to adopt a conservative 'wait-and-see' posture, recalling the cruiser Admiral Senyavin and icebreaker Svyatogor, assigning them to shadow Zhuhai in the Bering Sea. The VMF Rossii (Russian Navy) expressed concern about attempting to deal with the Zhuhai using any forces smaller than a cruiser, as the Chinese vessel is heavily-armed and equipped as a large seaplane carrier, capable of operating up to twelve military seaplanes, far more than needed for any civilian application. After internal discussion, the military high command decided to place the responsibility of handling any confrontation upon the coast defense forces in the Bering Region, as this would limit any events to Russian coastal waters.

Using both maritime patrol aircraft and surface ships, the VMF Rossii successfully intercepted the Zhuhai in the Bering Sea on February 3rd, shadowing it without incident until early morning on February 5th, when the Zhuhai approached the Bering Straits. At this time, as it became clear the Chinese warship was preparing to pass through the Straits, the captain of the Senyavin was instructed to issue an immediate radio command to turn around before the Zhuhai entered the territorial waters and security zone of the Russian coast-defense fortress on Ostrov Ratmanova (also known as Big Diomede Island). The Zhuhai received the message but declined, by radio, to turn around.

At this point, according to their instructions previously transmitted to Ostrov Ratmanova, several of the large-caliber guns of the island fortress fired warning shots at the Zhuhai. These shots bracketed the Zhuhai but caused no damage. The fortress radioed an immediate command to turn around, and indicated the Zhuhai had five minutes to comply. The Zhuhai stopped, but did not turn around. Although the five-minute time expired, the fortress commander elected not to fire while awaiting a diplomatic solution.

After a period of time, the Zhuhai once again got underway, crossing the International Date Line and attempting to use United States territorial waters to continue north through the Bering Strait. At this point, with no further options, the fortress commander issued orders to the Admiral Senyavin to fire on the Zhuhai once it left US territorial waters. This was done over open radio channels in the hope that the Chinese captain would recognize the extreme danger of further persisting to test the Bering Strait security area. This was, in the event, deemed successful, as the Zhuhai shortly thereafter returned south, accepting an offer of escort from the United States icebreaking guardship Bear. Having accomplished this goal, the order to sink Zhuhai was cancelled, although the Senyavin continued shadowing the Chinese vessel until it left the Bering Sea. Copies of all radio or wireless communications between the various vessels are provided.

Later on February 5th (early morning local time in Petrograd), President Fyodorov summoned the Chinese ambassador, Jhijun Lin, and strenuously reiterated the Russian position that Chinese attempts to access the Arctic for 'resource extraction' and other economic purposes represented an act of aggression and a geo-strategic challenge against the Russian Federation. President Fyodorov requested that China make efforts to avoid, in the future, making such provocations against the Russian Federation, but made no other demands nor request for apology. An official transcript is provided.

Some hours later, on the morning of February 6th, Russian ambassador Adamov was summoned by Chinese Prime Minister Chang Kai-Shek. Ambassador Adamov had been provided by the Foreign Ministry with instructions to deliver a brief statement in reply to any communication he might receive from the Prime Minister, but to decline from being drawn into any debate (which given the circumstances would be most likely acrimonious) and to retire at the earliest possible opportunity.

During this meeting, Prime Minister Kai-Shek presented Ambassador Adamov with the Chinese protest about the events in the Bering Strait, and demanded that the Russian Federation issue an immediate apology. Further, Minister Kai-Shek indicated that China would send another expedition to the Barents, promising a larger military escort. Ambassador Adamov reminded the Prime Minister of Russia's previous statements asking for restraint, and the warnings that Russia was interpreting Chinese actions as confrontational. The contents of Ambassador Adamov's statement are largely in line with the statements made by President Fyodorov. An approximate transcript is provided; no official transcript is available because no Russian stenographer was present at the meeting.

After delivering his statement, Ambassador Adamov attempted to excuse himself, whereupon Prime Minister Kai-Shek threatened to have him expelled from China and demanded he sit down again to debate the matter. Adamov listened to the Prime Minister for several more minutes, answering a single question to clarify the Russian position, and asked if he should be driven to the airport, whereupon the Prime Minister confirmed that the Ambassador was being expelled from China.

With all of these facts in mind, the Russian Federation consulted with its military allies, and with the Republic of France, which is a third party to the same Treaty of Neutrality as China and the Russian Federation. A decision was made on February 9th to request arbitration from another League of Nations member, pursuant to Article II of the Treaty. This declaration was made on February 10th, 1948.


Statement of Position
It is the position of the Russian Federation government that:
-- The Chinese Empire provoked the Bering Strait Incident in the aftermath of the initial discussions of mid-January, 1948; the Zhuhai's mission to the Arctic was not announced until several days after the Chinese government was informed of the Russian Federation's intense concern about China's attempts to access the Arctic for economic exploitation.
-- The Chinese Empire ignored repeated Russian warnings in the days prior to the February 5th Incident.
-- The Chinese Empire had sufficient foreknowledge of the Russian political position to understand that they were provoking an international incident. Rather than seeking a political discourse at that time, they continued on a course of confrontation, declining to make any political efforts to alleviate the situation.

The Russian Federation wishes to reaffirm its adherence to the principle of freedom of navigation, but is firmly convinced that the issue at hand does not pertain to this principle. The Russian Federation feels that China had more than sufficient warning to understand that its actions were being interpreted as a threat to and an act of aggression against the Russian Federation, and yet Chinese actions appear calculated to maximize those concerns in the most bellicose of fashions. Had these pre-existing conditions not been in place, the Russian Federation would not have felt compelled to take the extreme step of intercepting the Zhuhai.

The Russian Federation states emphatically that, although it does not feel the principle of freedom of navigation applies in this case, if it did then the Russian Federation still has the right under the established laws and conventions of the sea to deny a warship passage, as the prevailing circumstance leads Russia to doubt that the Zhuhai was engaged in innocent passage, upon which the principle rests.

The Russian Federation takes the position that the ejection of Ambassador Adamov from Beijing was without justification, as the ambassador was following the letter and intentions of the instructions provided by RF Foreign Ministry, which was to attempt to de-escalate the political tensions and provide the Chinese government with an acceptable and non-confrontational path. At no point in his February 6th interview with the Chinese Prime Minister did Ambassador Adamov cross the boundaries of impolite or improper behavior for an established international diplomat. Therefore the Russian Federation requests that a personal apology be made to Ambassador Adamov, and the official declaration of 'persona non grata' renounced; if this is done, the Russian Federation will appoint a new ambassador to China.

The Russian Federation takes the position that until such time as a settlement is made, it will continue to resist the passage of Chinese ships of war through the Bering Strait. No hindrance will be offered to unarmed Chinese vessels owned and operated by civilian personnel, although the Russian Navy will stop and inspect any vessels to ensure that they are both unarmed and operated by civilians.

The Russian Federation takes the position that it wishes for an amicable resolution to the present crisis, and the continuation of peaceful relations with the Chinese Empire.


Monday, January 22nd 2018, 4:49pm


Chinese Statement of Facts:
China invited the russian ambassador Adamov on January 14 to discuss closer economic cooperation with the russian federation. There were many points that would allow a closer relationship, among other things, China asked if chinese airlines were allowed to expand their network to Russia. In return, of course, any Russian airline would be allowed to expand its respective network to China. Another infrastructure project could be a joint extension of the rail network between Russia and China . A possible deepening of economic relations could take place in the automotive industry; this point was also part of the discussions. Finally, it was also about the question of whether China could get access to Russian jet propulsion technology and whether Russia sees the opportunity of cooperation with China in the study of the Arctic.

The talks were very fruitful, so both nations could approach in different points. Russia agrees to eventually expand the rail network between the two nations and, as an alternative to the Trans-Sib, expand the Trans-Mongol route. Likewise, Russia agreed to examine the possibilities of cooperation in the automotive industry. When asked about the expansion of Chinese airlines to Russia, the russian ambassador said that Russia currently sees no need for it, as passenger numbers would not justify it. But he promised that in the near future it would be possible to connect Vladivostok.

China made in the talks on possible cooperation in the Arkis clear, that as the country with the world's largest population, both for scientific purposes and for extracting raw materials, it can not be excluded from the Arctic, as this area are international waters. Russia sees in the peaceful Chinese efforts an aggressive act, and thus indirectly pronounces a ban on driving through the Bering Strait. As Russia immediately embraces this position without elaborating on possible cooperation, China sees no further basis for discussion on this issue. Internally, the Chinese government is debating whether such a blockade is justified at all, since the only access to the Arctic Ocean is the Bering Strait for every Pacific nation, including China.

Since the beginning of the year, the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration (CAA) has been planning to send a research vessel on a mission to the Arctic. On January 21, an article about this expedition was published in the Shanghai Telegraph.A short time later, the arctic research vessel Zhuhai leaves Shanghai with course Bering Strait.

Shortly thereafter, the Chinese government receives a telegram from Petrograd that Russia sees any crossing of the Bering Strait by a Chinese ship as a so-called "strategic challenge". China sees no need to answer on this telegram, as the ship will be on a peaceful exploration expedition and exclusively in international waters.

The Zhuhai is, like all Chinese research vessels, armed for the sole purpose of self-defense. The aircraft hangar will be converted into a research laboratory on all research voyages and only a few seaplanes will be retained on board for exploration and research flights.

As of 3 February, the Zhuhai is shadowed by Russian air and naval forces. In the early morning of February 5, Zhuhai receives a message from the Russian cruiser Senyavin to turn back.(Transcript of the log book of Zhuhai is provided) Since the Zhuhai is located in international waters at that time, the radio message is acknowledged but not answered. Captain Kun gives orders to continue the course as he sees no provocation in his actions; after all, the ship is in interantional waters. The captain answers to a second radio message, that he is on a peaceful research mission. He also invites the russian ship to accompany him, so that in the case of an emergency mutual assistance is possible.(A transcript of the radio messages will be provided). This invitation remains unanswered by the Russian side and the ship continues its course north. According to his instructions, Captain Kun decides to guide his ship through the Bering Strait on the american side.

A short time later, the ship is shelled without further warning from heavy artillery. The Chinese research vessel is being shot by batteries on the Big Diomedes Islands. The Zhuhai sends CEC (Chinese Emergency Call) signal to the Chinese fleet headquarters in Shanghai. An inspection of the ship's position confirms that the Zhuhai is located in international waters. Captain Kun immediately stops the ship and confirms to Shanghai that he will hold the position until further notice. To underline the peaceful intent, Captain Kun orders to turn away all weapons from the Big Diomedes Islands. Shortly thereafter, he sends another position report to Shanghai. (Transcript of the messages as well as a copy of the log book and the nautical chart are provided)

Shortly thereafter, the ship receives a radio message from the Diomedes Islands, in which the sinking of the ship without warning is announced, if the ship should continue its course to the north. In the opinion of Captain Kun, this behavior is in complete contradiction with the Freedom of the seas, almost a customary international law. After receiving another message from the chinese fleet headquarter, the ship continues its course, ignoring the Russian threat, on the american side of the Diomedes Islands, that means in the territorial waters of the USA.(Copy of the message will be provided)

Before the Zhuhai leaves the american territorial waters, and again reaches international waters north of the Diomedes Islands,Captain Kun, contrary to his orders from Shanghai, decides to turn his ship over and NOT to continue the northern course. Thus, Captain Kun accepts the illegal blockade of Russia and orders a southern course.

Later on February 5 (early in the morning, Petrograd time), the russian President Fyodorov informes the chinese ambassador that Russia insists on his position that Chinese behavior is an aggressive act. President Fyodorov renews the position of Russia that it will not accept that any chinese ship passes the Bering Strait. Concluding the conversation, the Russian PM called on China to refrain from such moves and provocations in the future. (official transcript of the Chinese transferee will be provided)

A day later, Russian Ambassador Adamov is invited by the Chinese Prime Minister.In this meeting, the Chinese Prime Minister declared the chinese point of view. He said that he regards Russian behavior as inexcusable and a breach of the neutrality treaty. He reiterated that the Bering Strait is the only ocean link for the Pacific nations through which they can reach the Arctic Ocean. And China will not accept that Russia or the US will block this sea route. He also said that in the future, Chinese research missions will be accompanied by armed forces to ensure the safety of civilians, if civilians will be shot again by Russia without reason. Furthermore, Chiang Kai-Chek pointed out that China will still abide by the neutrality agreement and is also open to the continuation of this agreement, but expects a public apology from Russia first.
On which Ambassador Adamov answered with the official position of Russia. Russia accuses China of provoking all states with its behavior, because China has no territory in the Arctic or any other reason to enter the area - except as a provocation. Furthermore, Russia accuses China of breaking the neutrality contract by sending the Zhuhai into the Bering Strait. The ambassador also insulted primeminister Chiang Kai Chek by interrupting him several times or not letting him have a say. Such behavior is inappropriate in the eyes of the Chinese Prime Minister. After getting rid of his "insults", he got up and immediately wanted to leave the office without giving the Chinese prime minister the opportunity to answer or to justify. The Chinese premier said that he expected a different form of manners. Apparently, the ambassador did not take the Chinese prime minister seriously, because he did not give the impression of being interested in a meaningful debate. Ultimately, the whole thing culminated in it, that the Chinese prime minister expelled the Russian ambassador from China, because he personally felt insulted by him.

According to Article II of the Neutrality Treaty with Russia and France, China sees the need to call a neutral arbitral tribunal to find a peaceful solution.


Statement of Position:

It is the position of the Chinese Empire that:

- the Russian Federation triggered the Bering Strait incident by shooting a Chinese ship in international waters WITHOUT REASON AND PROVOCATION.

- the Chinese Empire expects a public apology from Russia

- the Chinese Empire will NOT tolerate ANY blockade of the Bering Strait neither from Russia nor from the USA, cause the Bering Strait is the only sea route in which the Pacific nations can reach the Arctic Ocea. As a blockade is already considered that the riparian states of the Bering Street prescribe which ship is allowed to pass the Bering Strait and which not. Furthermore is any unjustified stopping of a Chinese vessel is already regarded as an act of piracy and treated accordingly

- Russia must have called an arbitral tribunal BEFORE the incident, if it believes that China is committing misconduct. Whether additional warnings were issued by Russia or not.(Article II of the mentioned neutrality treaty provides for a dispute an arbitral tribunal) Russia, however, has chosen the path of violence instead of diplomacy

- China reiterates that even if Russia has a 12-mile claim, there will be a small corridor of international waters in the Bering Strait. And according to the common way of handling the FREEDOM OF THE SEAS, a principle to which virtually all nations in the world profess, China will not accept the way Russia handle this case.
Freedom of the seas (Latin: mare liberum, lit. "free sea") is a principle in the international law and sea. It stresses freedom to navigate the oceans. It also disapproves of war fought in water. The freedom is to be breached only in a necessary international agreement. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.

- China has great doubts that Russia will in future consider the principles of freedom of navigation and shipping, if they want to prescribe to China which ship may send it and which not

- China reiterates, that the Bering Strait must have the same rights and obligations as the Lema Channel, in both cases it is the only possible way to enter the international waters.


Tuesday, January 23rd 2018, 2:01pm

Initial questions put by the arbiter:

To the representative of the Russian Federation

1. What is the limit of territorial waters claimed by the Russian Federation?
2. On what legal basis is that claim founded?

To the representative of the Chinese Empire

1. What is the limit of territorial waters claimed by the Russian Federation?
2. On what legal basis is that claim founded?


Tuesday, January 23rd 2018, 3:49pm

The Russian Federation claims territorial waters of twelve nautical miles (22.2km) from the baseline. Several exceptions to this rule are:
-- Russia claims the White Sea and the Shelikhov Gulf as internal territorial seas.
-- Russia claims administrative rights in the Sea of Okhotsk, and it reserves the right to claim this as an internal sea if required by political necessity.
-- The Caspian Sea is administered according to sectors by mutual agreement between the three coastal states.

When the twelve nautical mile territorial water claim might conflict with another nation's territorial waters, the Russian Federation follows the principle that Russian territorial waters end at a point halfway between the two baselines. The Russian Federation acknowledges that not all neighboring states have selected to use the same twelve-nm limit. When this situation occurs, the Russian Federation still always draws its boundary at the midpoint.

In the Bering Strait, the border between Russia and United States territories has been established by agreement as the International Date Line, which runs midway between the islands of Ostrov Ratmanova (Big Diomede) and Little Diomede, the latter of which rests within United States territory. As the United States does not at present claim a twelve nautical mile territorial seas limit, this results in zone which Russia treats as United States territorial waters, but which the United States itself treats as international waters. The first warning shots against Zhuhai were fired when the vessel was well within Russian territorial waters. [1] The Zhuhai later moved across the International Date Line into the zone outside the American 3-nm limit, but within the 12-nm limit that Russia treats the United States as possessing.

The basis of this territorial waters claim is placed upon the 1702 work De dominio maris by Cornelius Bynkershoek, which established that a coastal state may claim as territorial waters the area which it is capable from defending from its shore using cannon. For two centuries, this resulted in an approximate limit of three nautical miles from the baseline. However, over the last fifty years, advances in design of artillery and propellant have resulted in much greater possible ranges, both for use in defense as well as attack. Therefore, the Russian Federation expanded its territorial waters claim to twelve nautical miles based on the principles established in De dominio maris.


-- [1]: The Chinese statement alleges that the Zhuhai was in international waters at the time the coast defense guns on Ostrov Ratmanova fired the first warning shots. This is untrue. The primary radio-location rangefinding equipment on Ostrov Ratmanova registered the Zhuhai in a position 18,050 meters (9.746 nm) from the equipment tower, located on the southeastern side of the island. The bearing was registered as 184° S. This range was confirmed by a secondary radio-location rangefinder on the southwestern side of the island, and also by the primary radio-location rangefinder at Nunyamo, on the mainland. These radio-location ranges were confirmed by optical rangefinders. This places the Zhuhai within the claimed twelve nautical mile limit accepted by both Russia and China, meaning that the Zhuhai was within Russian territorial waters. After noting the warning shots, the Zhuhai stopped a registered distance of 16,550 meters (8.936 nm) from the primary RL rangefinder. When the ship crossed out of Russian territorial waters, it was estimated at a range of 15,950 meters from the rangefinder unit. These ranges are accurate to plus or minus thirty meters.


Tuesday, January 23rd 2018, 4:06pm

The Russian Federation claims territorial waters of twelve nautical miles (22.2km) from the baseline. This claim was published in 1921.
(More informations are not available for the Chinese Empire)

The first warning shots against Zhuhai were fired when the vessel was definitely outside Russian territorial waters in international waters. After this, the Zhuhai moved across the International Date Line, carfully watching that it didn't touch russian territorial waters, to the american side of the Bering Strait.


Thursday, March 15th 2018, 3:05pm

Decision of the Arbitration Tribunal convened to consider the circumstances surrounding what is commonly referred to as "The Bering Strait Incident" and to render a decision binding upon all parties.


Summary of Events

In mid-January 1948 representatives of the Russian Federation and the Chinese Empire entered into discussions regarding the improvement of their economic relations. Among the points of discussion was the desire expressed by China to engage in the exploration of the Arctic seas with a view to the exploitation of resources presumed to be there. At this juncture the Russian minister to China expressed the unwillingness of his government to cooperate with China in such a venture and made it quite clear that Russia would look upon any Chinese activity in the Bering and Chukchi Seas with the utmost disfavour.

The 21 January edition of the newspaper Shanghai Telegraph contained an item to the effect that the Chinese vessel Zhuhai would mount an expedition to Arctic waters, and indeed the vessel, under the command of Captain Cao Kun departed on her voyage the following day, as recorded in the vessel’s log book.

On 5 February 1948 the Chinese vessel Zhuhai approached the island of Ostrova Diomida with the apparent intention of transiting the Bering Strait. The Russian cruiser Admiral Senyavin and the icebreaker Svyatogor observed the Zhuhai’s northern course and Captain First Rank Fyodor Grishin of the Admiral Senyavin transmitted a message to the Zhuhai to return south and not attempt to pass the Bering Strait. This message went unheeded, and Captain Kun of the Zhuhai apprised the commander of the Admiral Senyavin that his vessel was in international waters, was not in distress, and would continue on its northward course.

At this juncture, at the approximate position 65°32'N by 169°12'W, coast defense batteries on the island of Ostrova Diomida fired warning shots in the direction of the Zhuhai, and followed with a supplementary warning that the Zhuhai should reverse course immediately. The tribunal quotes the content of the supplemental warning “Ostrov Ratmanova Central Command to Chinese Warship: your presence represents an aggressive challenge to the security interests of the Russian Federation. Your government and your ship have received and ignored multiple warnings. If you attempt to pass this fortification, we will sink you. If you pass this fortification, our cruiser will sink you. If you evade our cruiser, our aircraft will sink you. Turn around immediately. No further warnings will be provided.”

Captain Kun of the Zhuhai subsequently altered his course to the northeast, entering American waters, whereupon the American vessel Bear placed the Zhuhai under its escort. Captain Kun showed great wisdom in altering his course to the south and departed the area without further incident.

Summary of Arguments

The Russian Federation contends that the voyage of the Zhuhai was a deliberate act of provocation on the part of the Chinese Empire, made in the face of repeated warnings that the Russian Federation would consider the voyage a threat to what it sees as its special security interests in the Arctic regions. The Russian Federation claims a territorial limit of twelve nautical miles, and asserts that at the time of the incident the Zhuhai was within these limits.

The Chinese Empire contends that the voyage of the Zhuhai was a peaceful exploration of the Arctic and that the Zhuhai was in international waters at the time of the incident. The Chinese Empire was aware of Russian concerns about the intended voyage and chose to proceed in the face of them, interpreting the Bering Straits as international waters.

Summary of Judgment

Admiralty Law does not allow any nation to abrogate the freedom of the seas. Russia therefore has no right to constrain navigation in the Bering Strait, regardless of its claim to extended territorial waters, particularly in time of peace.

While the Chinese Empire failed to formally invoke the right of Strait Passage by formal notice to both the Russian Federation and American governments of the intentions of the Chinese ship Zhuhai such notice is not a prerequisite for the assertion of the right of strait passage. Therefore the firing of warning shots by Russian shore batteries was contrary to Admiralty Law. The announcement of the Zhuhai’s departure, following so close upon the opening of discussions of improved economic relations with Russia, and in the face of Russian concerns expressed at those meetings, suggests quite strongly that it was the intention of the Chinese Government to mount the expedition not as an enterprise of exploration but as a deliberate assertion of its rights to freedom of navigation.

The Russian Federation’s claim to extended limits to its territorial waters is accepted de facto by the international community, though not recognized de jure. Likewise, the Chinese Empire asserts a similar claim that is not recognized de jure by any nation other than Great Britain. The Chinese Empire cannot profess ignorance of the Russian Federation claim as its own claim to extended territorial limits antedates that of the Russia Federation. The Chinese Empire has argued that the Russian Federation is obliged to provide a channel for transit of the Bering Strait as the Chinese Empire has provided in the vicinity of Hong Kong. As noted above Admiralty Law does not permit the Russian Federation to subject the Bering Strait to its sovereignty in any manner. Neither may the Chinese Empire justly claim to delimit or otherwise assert sovereignty over the seaward approaches to the British colony of Hong Kong. Equity and the law of nations requires the application of this principal of freedom of navigation on the high seas in both situations.

The decision by the Chinese Empire to disregard Russian Federation concerns regarding the projected voyage of the Zhuhai do not excuse the action of Russian coastal batteries located on Ostrova Diomida in firing upon said vessel. It is not within the remit of this tribunal to judge the veracity of the Chinese Empire’s claim that the Zhuhai’s mission was merely one of exploration and survey.

In this light the tribunal finds that the Russian Federation acted contrary to Admiralty Law by firing on the Chinese vessel Zhuhai. It is obligated to offer an apology for the insult to the Chinese flag and pay compensation for said insult in the amount fifty-thousand rubles.