U.S. ratification of UNCLOS would restore leadership on maritime affairs
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Assistant Secretary of State John F. Turner cited the urgency for accession at the outset of his testimony: “there are important reasons for the United States to become a party to this Convention and to do so now.”67 Not surprisingly, the State Department highlighted accession as a means of maintaining U.S. leadership in global matters; contributing to the ongoing evolution of international law-making; and supporting peaceful methods of international dispute resolution. In an effort to perhaps illustrate the dwindling opportunity to portray the United States as being at the forefront, Turner explained, “as of today, 143 parties, including most of our major allies, have joined the Convention. It is time for us to take the opportunity to demonstrate U.S. leadership on ocean issues by becoming a party to the Law of the Sea Convention.”68
U.S. ratification of UNCLOS would boost its leadership standing in a couple of ways. First, by acceeding to the treaty, the U.S. would immediately be able to participate in the discussion around the future of the treaty and participate in maritime forums that it had previously been locked out of. Secondly, by ratifying the treaty, the U.S. would improve its soft power by showing more of a willingness to cooperate multilaterally.