U.S. running risk of losing out on Arctic territory by not being a signatory to UNCLOS
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While the United States debates whether or not the convention would undermine U.S. sovereignty, Russia, Canada, and the other Arctic nations are doing all they can to prove that these newly available territories belong to them. By waiting to ratify the convention, the United States risks losing potential territory to countries that are already operating under the treaty, specifically Canada. For example, the Beaufort Sea includes an area where the EEZs of the United States and Canada overlap. Predictably, the two countries have differing opinions on how the area, which covers more than 7,000 square nautical miles, should be demarcated. Canada argues that the treaty signed between Russia and the United Kingdom in 1825, defining the boundary as following the 141° west meridian “as far as the frozen ocean,” should stand. The United States position is that since no maritime boundary was ever negotiated between Canada and the United States, the boundary should run along the median line between the two coastlines. This is the kind of territorial dispute the United States stands to lose by not ratifying the convention.
By remaining outside of UNCLOS, the U.S. is ceding its leadership role in the region in a number of ways. First, and most importantly for the U.S. strategic and economic interests, by remaining outside of the treaty the U.S. is not able to submit its claims for the extended continental shelf in the Arctic to the CLCS, preventing U.S. industries from claiming mineral rights. Secondly, existing Arctic governance regimes are based on and rely on UNCLOS and the U.S. non-party status prevents it from contributing as a full partner, weakening the overall Arctic governance regime. Finally, U.S.