U.S. ratification of UNCLOS would support rather than hinder the work of the Proliferation Security Initiative
[MYTH] The Convention adversely affects activities to be undertaken pursuant to the Proliferation Security Initiative.
- On the contrary, joining the Convention would strengthen PSI efforts.
- PSI’s own rules require that PSI activities be consistent with relevant international law and frameworks, which include the Convention’s navigation provisions.
- The Statement of Interdiction Principles pursuant to which the PSI operates explicitly specifies that interdiction activities under PSI will be undertaken “consistent with national legal authorities and relevant international law and frameworks.” The relevant international law framework for PSI includes customary international law that is codified in the Law of the Sea Convention.
- The Convention provides solid legal bases for taking enforcement action against vessels and aircraft suspected of engaging in proliferation of WMD, e.g., exclusive port and coastal State jurisdiction in internal waters and national airspace; coastal State jurisdiction in the territorial sea and contiguous zone; exclusive flag State jurisdiction over vessels on the high seas (which the flag State may, by agreement, waive in favor of other States); and universal jurisdiction over stateless vessels.
- All of the United States’ partners in the PSI are parties to the Convention and accordingly observe its provisions.
- As Admiral Michael Mullen, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, testified before the Foreign Relations Committee, being party to the Convention “would greatly strengthen [the Navy’s] ability to support the objectives” of PSI by reinforcing and codifying freedom of navigation rights on which the Navy depends for operational mobility.