The U.S. does not need to ratify UNCLOS to protect the interests of its underseas cable industry. Submarine cables are already protected under existing international law and any gaps in this law can be resolved by implementing bilateral treaties with states as needed.
Although states making excessive claims will never publicly welcome U.S. challenges through its Freedom of Navigation program, the U.S. – as an UNCLOS party – would have greater credibility and standing to conduct challenges, reaffirming as a fellow-member the crucial tenants of an internationally accepted legal regime.
Mandatory dispute resolution mechanism could be used by states unsympathetic to the U.S. to curtail its military operations even though such operations are supposed to be exempt from the mechanism. This is because it is unclear by the terms of the treaty what activities will be defined as military.
- Risks of national security damage due to a adverse dispute settlement ruling are under appreciated
- Interpretation of "military activities" clause left up to external courts and possibly unfriendly panel
- US has always resolved maritime disputes with voluntary, bilateral diplomacy -- accession to UNCLOS would compel legally binding dispute resolution
- Should recognize that U.S. will be bigger target for ITLOS because of its status as the sole global naval superpower
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The costs associated with the dispute resolution provisions in UNCLOS are similar to those the United States is already subject to under the principles of universal jurisdiction and territoriality and numerous other agreements the U.S. has already ratified. Furthermore, the Convention provides the United States with an escape from mandatory dispute resolution which the U.S. has already invoked in its signing statements to ensure that the U.S. military will not be threatened by UNCLOS tribunals.
- Dispute settlement provisions in UNCLOS contribute to advancement of maritime law and are in best interest of US
- Dispute settlement provisions in UNCLOS were advocated by US originally because they are still best way to further rule of law
- US was leading advocate of system of third party arbitration within UNCLOS because it viewed this as essential to consistent application of the law
- U.S. would not be constrained by foreign tribunal and could choose other methods of dispute resolution
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The Internet poses legal challenges similar to those encountered in maintaining order in the use of the world's oceans. UNCLOS, which imposes law and order in the seas, entered into force based on "the notion that all problems of ocean space are closely related and needed to be addressed as a whole."" Similarly, the Internet is shared globally and the consequences of actions taken by an Internet user in one jurisdiction can be borne globally.
- Legal challenges posed by cybercrime similar to those posed by maritime piracy
- International community should follow example set by UNCLOS and establish governing regime to combat cybercrime
- A cybercrime treaty that established universal jurisdiction over crimes and an international tribunal could help deter cybercrimes
- Creating an international tribunal for cybercrime based on UNCLOS model would help deter and resolve cybercrime
- UNCLOS navigational freedom provisions provides good model for regulating cyberspace
- UNCLOS provisions on transit passage provide good model for international agreements governing military activity in cyberspace
The negotiations and compromises that led to the development of UNCLOS were a watershed for the development of international law and could serve as a model for the development of similar regimes for the governance of other global commons, including outer space, cyberspace, and the genetic pool.
- Southern countries are pursuing biodiversity strategy modelled off of the lessons learned from UNCLOS
- Multiple similarities between international approaches for the management of the ocean regime and the common gene pool
- UNCLOS has become a significant milestone in the development of international law
- Both UNCLOS and emerging international biodiversity agreements are trying to define scope of resource sharing
- ISA model could be extended to protecting ocean biodiversity through a new agreement
As a signatory to UNCLOS, the PRC occasionally implies that its interpretations should trump those of the United States, which has yet to ratify the convention that Washington nevertheless employs as a bludgeon against Beijing’s claims that UNCLOS permits limitations by coastal states on foreign military activities in the EEZ.
- US abstention from UNCLOS is a vulnerability China can exploit to promote its lawfare campaign to control South China Sea
- Ratifying UNCLOS would give U.S. stronger argument to pressure China in South China Sea
- Multilateral cooperation to curb Chinese aggression in South China Seas depends on U.S. adherence to and ratification of UNCLOS
- Allowing China to prevail in its South China Sea claims would pose a number of risks to U.S. national security and global economy
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UNCLOS does not provide adequate protection for underseas cables against malicious attack or terrorist threat and should be modified.
U.S. ratification of UNCLOS would bolster homeland security efforts in two significant ways. First, it would provide a stable legal basis for U.S. freedom of navigation rights, preserving the right of the U.S. military to use the world’s oceans to meet national security requirements. Secondly, it would provide stronger legal basis for the U.S. to conduct necessary counter-terrorism interdiction operations and challenge excessive claims.
- Ratification of UNCLOS key to supporting U.S. efforts in current counterterrorism efforts
- U.S. ratification of UNCLOS will facilitate U.S. efforts in war on terrorism
- U.S. accession to UNCLOS would greatly enhance capacity of US coast guard to safeguard borders and ocean resources
- Navigational freedoms in UNCLOS critical in current global war on terrorism
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The United Nations has virtually no role in management, implementation, or execution of this treaty. It remains in the convention’s title only because the treaty was initially negotiated at the United Nations. In addition, the only international organization UNCLOS creates (the International Seabed Authority) is no different from the hundreds of other international organizations the U.S. is already party to, including the U.S.- Canadian Fisheries Convention or the International Maritime Organization.
- Governing structure of UNCLOS regime is not under United Nations control
- Fears of an overreaching UNCLOS bureaucracy are overwrought
- UNCLOS is in no way a power grab by the United Nations
- Fears of the vast unaccountable bureaucracy of UNCLOS have been proven unfounded in the 10 years since it has been in force
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