Arguments: Most Active
As the pre-eminent global maritime power, the U.S. has significant interests in the global effect of the Convention’s rules and their interpretation with many issues that of greater concern to us than to most other countries (for example, preserving freedom of navigation rights). Our adversaries view this as a weakness they can exploit and are shaping the course of the convention in ways adverse to U.S. interests while the U.S. remains on the sidelines, unable to participate in the discussion as a non-party.
- U.S. adversaries are taking advantage of U.S. non-party status to UNCLOS to shape international laws in ways inimical to U.S. interests
- U.S. adversaries are using U.S. absence from UNCLOS to shape treaty in way adverse to U.S. interests
- U.S. interests are threatened by international NGOs and other actors that are shaping the future of UNCLOS without U.S. input
- U.S. has permanent veto over new amendments to the treaty but only after it has ratified it
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The ecosystem of the Arctic is more susceptible to pollution than other parts of the world which is even more critical because the Arctic region plays a key role in maintaining the health of the global environment.
Despite the rhetoric, disputes over Arctic resources are unlikely to devolve into conflict as states have to date been operating in a cooperative manner and there are sufficient international forums and structures (including UNCLOS) in place to manage disputes if they should occur.
- U.S. sees low level of military threat from disputes in Arctic
- Existing security framework and economic incentives likely to defuse any conflict in the Arctic
- Despite rhetoric, existing governance and security framework in Arctic sufficient to prevent conflicts
- Despite rhetoric, Canada unlikely to resort to military action to protect Arctic claims
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The U.S. safeguard against such transfers becomes operative through the interaction of the convention and the 1994 agreement. Convention Article 161, paragraph 8(d) requires consensus of the ISA council to distribute economic benefits, pursuant to Article 162. Section 3, paragraph 15(a) of the annex to the 1994 agreement provides the United States a permanent seat on the council by virtue of being the largest economy on the date of entry into force of the convention.
Bilateral arrangements between states over ECS claims are not a viable alternative to the existing UNCLOS regime. The comprehensive international UNCLOS regime was proposed in the first place as a way of reducing the transaction costs of formulating all of these bilateral treaties. Additionally, they would have dubious legal validity, especially in regions like the Arctic where all other nations besides the U.S. have already ratified the treaty.
- US attempts at bilateral diplomacy only complicating disputes, should agree to international framework of UNCLOS
- Bilateral treaties are not a sufficient substitute for UNCLOS regime in settling Arctic disputes
- Bilateral agreements over seabed jurisdiction would be abrogated by UNCLOS framework
- Joint ventures with signatory nations not an acceptable alternative because U.S. companies would be bound by treaty without accruing its benefits
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China is taking concrete diplomatic steps to ensure that it becomes a player in the Arctic game and eventually will have what it regards as its fair share of access to Arctic resources and sea routes.
- China's dependence on resources could force it to become more aggressive in its bid to gain access to Arctic resources
- China views coming resource struggle in Arctic as possibly leading to military conflict
- China actively lobbying for inclusion in the Arctic Council to gain access to Arctic resources
- China actively pursuing Arctic science and expanding relations with Arctic countries
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China views its excessive regulatory claims over the EEZ as an important component of its ability to conduct asymmetric maritime warfare and deny U.S. access to the Asia-Pacific region.
- China executing a lawfare campaign against U.S. navy with excessive EEZ claims
- U.S. freedom of operations under continual and increasing challenge by a more aggressive China
- Multiple examples of Chinese excessive naval claims that run afoul of UNCLOS
- China's excessive claims run counter to its global economic ambitions and its own territorial defense strategy
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Chinese practice with regard to innocent passage, exclusive economic zones, and sovereignty claims over what China calls “Historic Waters” is largely inconsistent with UNCLOS.
- China at odds with UNCLOS standards defining coastal baselines
- U.S. and China disagree on definition of Marine Scientific Research clause under UNCLOS
- Chinese practice and policy are at odds with UNCLOS agreement
- China has disagreed with principle of EEZ in UNCLOS since initial discussions
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A broad, bipartisan consensus supports U.S. ratification of the Law of the Sea Convention, and has consistently argued on its behalf for the past 30 years. This coalition includes high-level officials from the past six administrations and backing by all Presidents since Clinton. It also includes a range of senior defense officials including every Chief of Naval Operations.
- Broad consensus of groups with maritime interests support ratification of UNCLOS
- Overwhelming consensus of experts and officials is in favor of ratifying convention
- Multiple U.S. administrations have continually supported ratification of UNCLOS to preserve freedom of navigation
- Successive commissions have argued strongly for US ratification of UNCLOS
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