UNCLOS is a remarkable peacetime achievement in resolving border disputes without conflict
Boundaries have been the root of many a war throughout the history of civilization. This convention and the acceptance that it has secured throughout the world, largely as the result of U.S. leadership, is truly remarkable. Through 10 years of tenacious negotiations, such understandings and commitments were obtained with over 160 governments. To bring international stability to claims of national jurisdiction in the oceans is the convention's greatest accomplishment.
Vital U.S. security interests are protected by the treaty. Spokesmen from the Defense Department are here to address these issues, so let me note only that in the post-Cold War era the United States must ensure that the lines of communication over and under the sea and through the air are freely available in order to project power to distant regions. Constant vigilance and a willingness to assert our rights is always required. But the job is easier if there is fundamental international agreement on a comprehensive, widely accepted convention. We had better think long and hard before we discard the sea treaty on ocean law--an agreement that contains a consensus on these basic fundamental issues, not only among our long-time NATO allies and the OECD countries, but among the countries of the former Soviet Union, the former Eastern bloc nations, the Middle East countries, and China, among others.