US ratification of UNCLOS would immediately improve prospects for PSI by encouraging more nations to participate
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Launched in 2003, “the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) is a global effort that aims to stop trafficking of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).”70 The PSI is not a treaty, but instead relies on preexisting international legal frameworks – including the Law of the Sea Convention – and voluntary commitment to a “Statement of Interdiction Principles” to guide cooperation and prevent proliferation.71,72 Despite the endorsement of ninety-eight nations, major players have proved wary to join the United States in this partnership.73,74,75
Conspicuously absent from PSI are both Indonesia and Malaysia who both border the worlds busiest maritime straight. With nearly 525 million metric tons traveling this corridor annually, the failure to expand PSI to this SLOC puts international interdiction efforts at a significant disadvantage and complicates an already difficult problem in the PACOM AOR.76 This failure to expand PSI should come as no surprise, however. As former to in 2007, many critical Pacific countries would like to support PSI, but are unable to “convince their legislatures that PSI interdiction activities will only occur in accordance with international law, including the Law of the Sea Convention, when the leading PSI nation, the United States, refuse to become a party to the Convention.” "77 The legitimacy obtained through ratification of UNCLOS would solve this problem immediately. Recruiting countries to PSI is just the first step, however, as enhanced legitimacy has second-order effects.