U.S. cannot advocate rule of law approach in South China Sea without being party to UNCLOS
The United States need not take a position on the claims of parties in the South China Sea dispute or in any other dispute. It need only ensure that whatever resolutions are reached are within the bounds of international law. If China or any other party is permitted to simply ignore the rules of one facet of the international system—in this case the Law of the Sea—then the entire system loses legitimacy. Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Robert Papp said it best at the same May 9 forum: “Our legitimacy as a sovereign state and as a world leader…rests with the rule of law.”
The Senate should act to assert the national interests of the United States and ratify UNCLOS as soon as possible. Asserting U.S. credibility in the Asia Pacific and globally by standing by the rule of law is in our economic and security interests. In fact, U.S. ratification of UNCLOS will determine whether the twenty-first century resembles the relatively stable order of the late-twentieth century or is more like the competitive free-for-all of the nineteenth.
Related argument(s) where this quote is used.
As a signatory to UNCLOS, the PRC occasionally implies that its interpretations should trump those of the United States, which has yet to ratify the convention that Washington nevertheless employs as a bludgeon against Beijing’s claims that UNCLOS permits limitations by coastal states on foreign military activities in the EEZ.Related Quotes:
- US abstention from UNCLOS is a vulnerability China can exploit to promote its lawfare campaign to control South China Sea
- Ratifying UNCLOS would give U.S. stronger argument to pressure China in South China Sea
- Multilateral cooperation to curb Chinese aggression in South China Seas depends on U.S. adherence to and ratification of UNCLOS
- Allowing China to prevail in its South China Sea claims would pose a number of risks to U.S. national security and global economy
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