Both US and world losing out by US non-participation in UNCLOS
[ Page 23-24 ]
Without becoming party to the Convention, the United States cannot benefit from all the Convention offers, while the rest of the world also loses from our non-participation in the continued progressive development ofthe Law of the Sea. The United States cannot turn to the binding dispute settlement regime of Part XV should it wish to contest overly assertive straight baseline claims or arbitrary restrictions on innocent passage or marine scientific research.16 The United States cannot make a claim for an extended continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles under Article 76. The United States has also been without representation on the Commission on the Limits ofthe Continental Shelf. The Commission has been quietly developing international law on the continental shelf by formulating its Scientific and Technical Guidelines and by reviewing the dozen or so claims that have so far been made. If and when the United States ever does become a party, its extended continental shelf claim will be assessed, perhaps decades after the Commission began its work, on the basis of standards now being worked out without its participation.
U.S. failure to ratify UNCLOS has damaged U.S. national security and economic growth by forclosing valuable opportunities, increasing the costs for military operations, and crippling U.S. maritime leadership as our adversaries become more aggressive.