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Law of the Sea - Separating Fact From Fiction

Law of the Sea - Separating Fact From Fiction

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fact-sheet separating fact from fiction
fact-sheet separating fact from fiction

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Published by: The American Security Project on Jun 26, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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www.AmericanSecurityProject.org1100 New York Avenue, NW Suite 710W Washington, DC
FAC SHEELaw of the Sea:Separating Fact from Fiction
 June 2012
Te United States Senate is currently debating the ratication o the United NationsConvention (or reaty) on the Law o the Sea. Although the treaty has been overwhelmingly backed by the private sector, military ocials,Democrats and Republicans - including the previous George W. Bush Administration,unortunately a minority partisan opposition seeks to block the treaty’s ratication.Te main issues o contention in the treaty include U.S. sovereignty, resource rights andnational security. Tis paper debunks allacious claims that opponents o the treaty havemade with acts.
“Joining this treaty will have positive implications for our operations across themaritime domain.The convention improves on previous agreements, including the 1958 GenevaConvention. It will further protect our access to the maritime domain. It will fortifyour credibility as the world’s leading naval power. And allow us to bring to bear the
 full force of our inuence on maritime disputes.
 In short, it preserves what we have and it gives us yet another tool to engage anynation that would threaten our maritime interests.”
Adm James Winnefeld Jr.
, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,14 June 2012
Claim: Te United States would be surrendering its national sovereignty under this treaty 
Fact: It’s exactly the opposite: the reaty increases our sovereignty 
Te treaty already grants the U.S. exclusive economic zones 200-miles of the coast ascustomary international law. Ratiying the treaty would secure U.S. sovereign rightsurther of the coast line, including our vast continental shel areas.
 AmericAn security project
Te U.S. continental shel extends at least 600 miles of Alaska into the Arctic Ocean.
Tis region is estimated to hold 30 billion barrels o oil and 72 billion barrels o natural gas as well asvaluable mineral deposits.Claim: Te treaty’s provision or binding dispute settlement would impinge on our sovereignty 
Fact: Tese provisions in the reaty actually advance U.S. interests, by creating a mechanism by whichthe U.S. can hold other countries accountable to the rules
Te United States is party to similar provisions in international law, including in the World radeOrganization, which has allowed us to bring trade cases, many o them currently pending, against abusersaround the world.
 As with the WO, the U.S. has much more to gain than lose: rule o law holds others accountable undera clear and transparent system.
For example, the U.S. could hold China to their international agreement not to extend their sovereignty to the entire South China Sea.
Te treaty allows the U.S. to exempt military activities rom binding dispute settlement
“Most important to me as the Commander of U.S. Pacic Command are the protections contained in the Convention for our navigational rights and freedoms, over-ight rights and freedoms, military
activities, and our rights to transit international straits and choke points without impediment.With more than half the world’s ocean area within my AOR, forces assigned to me rely on these basicrights, freedoms, and uses daily to accomplish their mission.
 All of the foregoing rights and freedoms are specically protected by the Convention.”
 Adm. Samuel J. Locklear, III
, U.S. Navy Commander, U.S. Pacic Command, 14 June 2012Claim: Te U.S. would be submitting to mandatory technology transer
Fact: While this concern was relevant decades ago, mandatory technology transfer has been taken out of the modern treaty.
In 1994, negotiators made modications specically to address each o President Reagan’s objections.
Tis included mandatory technology transer and limitations o seabed productions, two key articles that were removed rom the treaty.
President Reagan’s own Secretary o State, George Shultz, has since written since that the U.S. should join the convention in light o these modications.
Claim: Te U.S. do not need to join the convention or American companies to drill beyond 200 miles or toengage in deep seabed mining
Fact: Tis is the opposite. Companies doing the exploration and drilling say they need this treaty toengage in deep seabed mining 
Many companies have stated that they will not take on the costs and risk these activities under uncertainlegal rameworks.
Industry leaders in, shing, shipping and mineral exploration such as: Cheveron, Lockheed Martin, theChamber o Shipping o America, the National Fisheries Institute and others have expressed their supportratiying the treaty.
Companies need or the internationally recognized rights available under the treaty in order to invest inuture operations.
U.S. legal advisors claim that companies are greater targets or environmental suits i the U.S. not party to the treaty.
Under the Convention, 12 commercial exploration operations or deep seabed hard minerals have beenapproved by the International Seabed Authority and another 5 will be reviewed by the InternationalSeabed while only one US license holder remains o the original our, and that rm says it will only conduct operations at sea under the ramework o the Convention.
“The treaty provides substantial economic benets to the U.S. It accords coastal states the right to
declare an ‘Exclusive Economic Zone’ where they have exclusive rights to explore and exploit, and the responsibility to conserve and manage, living and nonliving resources extending 200 nautical miles seaward from their shoreline.Our nation’s exclusive zone would be larger than that of any country in the world—covering an area greater than the landmass of the lower 48 states. In addition, the zone can be extended beyond 200 nautical miles if certain geological criteria are
met; this has signicant potential benets where the U.S.’s continental shelves may be as broad as
600 miles, such as off Alaska, where vast natural resources lie.”
Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker III, Colin Powell And Condoleezza Rice
Wall Street Journal, 31 May 2012
Claim: Te payments or benet-o-resource rights beyond 200 miles is a “U.N. tax”
Fact: Te convention does not contain or authorize any such taxes. Te U.N. “tax” is actually a royalty fee for resources outside of national boundaries. Companies would not use the resources without thisreaty.
 Any royalty ee does not go to the United Nations; it goes into a und or distribution to parties o theconvention.

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