Negotiating history for UNCLOS confirms U.S. position on military access to foreign EEZs
[ Page 446-447 ]
Comments made during and shortly after the UNCLOS negotiations shed light on how participants intended the Convention to be interpreted. Ambassador Tommy T.B. Koh from Singapore, the President of UNCLOS III,32 recognized that the text of UNCLOS did not explicitly provide clarity on permissible military conduct in the EEZ, but he noted "it was the general understanding that the text we negotiated and agreed upon would permit such activities to be conducted."33 Furthermore, Ambassador Koh has spoken about certain coastal states trying to apply territorial sea sovereignty rights in the EEZ, which he noted "is not consistent with the intention of those of us who negotiated this text, and is not consistent with the correct interpretation of this part [Part V] of the Convention."34 The United States further points out that of the few statements made by China at the time of ratifying UNCLOS, only one related to military activities.35 The statement related only to activities in the territorial sea, saying nothing about China's objections to military activities in a coastal State's EEZ.