Ratifying UNCLOS would give U.S. more tools to challenge excessive claims
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More effective engagement with respect to security incidents and concerns resulting from illegal oceans claims by others. Examples include the new law of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) providing that Chinese civil and military authorities must approve all survey activities within the 200 mile economic zone; the PRC harassment of the Navy’s ocean survey ship, the USNS Bowditch, by Chinese military patrol aircraft and ships when the Bowditch was 60 miles off the coast; the earlier EP-3 surveillance aircraft harassment; Peruvian challenges to U.S. transport aircraft in the exclusive economic zone, including one aircraft shot down and a second incident in which two U.S. C-130s had to alter their flight plan around a claimed 650 mile Peruvian “flight information area”; the North Korean 50-mile “security zone” claim; the Iranian excessive base line claims in the Persian/Arabian Gulf; the Libyan “line of death”; and the Brazilian claim to control warship navigation in the economic zone;
The U.S. is currently tracking dozens of excessive claims by states, some of which are from states seeking to take advantage of perceived U.S. weakness due to its non-party status to UNCLOS. Regardless, the U.S. would be in a better position to contest these claims (and dissuade further claims) as a party to UNCLOS.