US should challenge excessive coastal state restrictions on military activities within the EEZ
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The proliferation of excessive coastal-state restrictions on military activities in the exclusive economic zone should be a growing concern to all maritime nations. Such restrictions are inconsistent with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and customary international law, and they erode the balance of interests that was carefully crafted during the nine-year negotiations that led to the adoption of UNCLOS. All nations must remain engaged, both domestically and internationally, in preserving operational flexibility and ensuring that the balance of interests reflected in UNCLOS is not eroded any further. The bottom line is that while UNCLOS grants coastal states sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring, exploiting, conserving, and managing the natural resources in the EEZs, it does not authorize them to interfere with legitimate military activities, which include much more than just navigation and overflight. Accordingly, U.S. warships, military aircraft and other sovereign immune ships and aircraft will continue to exercise their rights and freedoms in foreign EEZs, including China’s, in accordance with international law.