U.S. would weaken its bargaining position in disputes over Arctic claims if it ratifies UNCLOS
[ Page 857-858 ]
The Rights to the Arctic Likely Will Be Decided through Multi-party Negotiations Outside the Scope of UNCLOS. UNCLOS does not create a dispute resolution process through the CLCS, and there is an inherent difficulty ofproving beyond refute that the area at issue is the extension of only one nation's continental shelf. Thus, the most probable result is that the nations with competing claims will negotiate amongst themselves to reach a settlement. This makes it imperative that the United States refrain from any action that may weaken its bargaining position. By ratifying UNCLOS the United States could substantially erode its bargaining power. By becoming a party to the treaty and thus subject to the adjacent-or-opposite limitation, the United States would weaken its negotiating position if the U.S. continental shelf is not physically connected to the Arctic seabed. If the United States is a party to UNCLOS, then other nations may argue that the United States' only option is to submit a claim to the CLCS as provided in the treaty. If, however, the United States is not a party to UNCLOS, then there would be less pressure from other nations for it to proceed under UNCLOS provisions to ultimately determine the validity of any U.S. claim. Also, as a party to the treaty, the United States would lose credibility in any external settlement negotiations since it would only be subscribing to some of UNCLOS's mandates.
"Don't be Left out in the Cold: An Argument for Advancing American Interests in the Arctic Outside the Ambits of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
." Georgia Law Review
. (2007-2008): 833-865. [ More (6 quotes) ]
The U.S. can exercise its rights under the 1958 Convention on the High Seas to assert that it is permitted to mine and navigate in its Extended Continental Shelf. Ratifying UNCLOS would constrict the ability of the U.S. to respond to challenges to these rights by forcing all further negotiation to occur through the CLCS.