Leon Panetta is pushing for senate approval of the Law of the Sea treaty, which is essential to preserve the Navy’s rigth to conduct exercise in waters near China and to enhance U.S. claims in the artic and elsewhere.
Conservatives are arguing it gives too much power to international organizations over mineral rights mainly oil.
The Law of the Sea Treaty sets out international rules for maritime navigation, territorial waters and countries use of offshore areas as exclusive economic zones. There are concerns about its miming provisions.
Oil companies eager to explore the arctic for energy reserves are among business interest backing the push to ratify the treaty, arguing it would provide legal certainly for American corporations.
Panetta will argue that ratifying the treaty would help ensure the U.S. has freedom of navigation in the worlds oceans at a time when a new defense strategy acknowledges America’s return to its maritime roots.
China has long argued that it can limit military activities within its exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 nautical miles form the shoreline.
U.S. argues the treaty is clear that there is no restriction on military use of areas outside country’s territorial waters, which extend 12 nautical miles form shore.
We would ensure that our rights are not whittled away by the excessive claims and erroneous interpretations of others.
If the US ratified the treaty it would be able to counter Chinas view of the treaty over a negotiating table, rather than through a series of maritime confrontations.
Some conservatives argue that it would inevitably allow an international body to send oil and gas royalties’ form wells on America’s continental shelf to others nations. Heritage Foundation makes little sense and that Chinas view of the treaty is an outlier.
What would the US joining the treaty have anything to do with China changing is position. The thought that the US entering the treaty will change the behaviors of these bad actors is complete silliness.

Julian Barnes


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