The White House deployed top Pentagon leaders to make the point that approving the treaty, the United Nations' Convention on the Law of the Seas, would give Washington a new tool to combat Iran, China, and Russia. And in a deft political move, the defense brass also noted that U.S. firms stand to rake in greater profits if the Senate acts.
As the globe’s preeminent maritime power, the United States has much to gain in ratifying the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said here today. Panetta spoke at the Law of the Sea Convention forum. Ratifying the treaty, he said, would allow the United States to exert a leadership role in the development and interpretation of the rules that determine legal certainty on the world’s oceans.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is beginning a new push for Senate approval of the Law of the Sea treaty, a long-stalled pact military officials believe is essential to preserve the Navy's right to conduct exercises in waters near China and to enhance U.S. claims in the Arctic and elsewhere. … Oil companies eager to explore the Arctic for energy reserves are among business interests backing the push to ratify the treaty, arguing it would provide legal certainty for American corporations. In a speech set for Wednesday sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Atlantic Council—a nonprofit that promotes international relations—Mr. Panetta will argue that ratifying the treaty would help ensure the U.S. has freedom of navigation in the world's oceans at a time when a new defense strategy acknowledges America's return to its "maritime roots." "The time has come for the United States to fully assert its role as a global leader, and accede to this important treaty," Mr. Panetta will say, according to a draft of his remarks reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
A full Senate vote on the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea is once again a possibility in Washington in the 112th Congress, but with an added twist: more vocal interset from industry for the United States to sign on.
The nation’s sea service chiefs kicked off the Navy League’s 2012 Sea-Air-Space Exposition April 16 panel discussions by painting a vivid portrait of where their organizations stand at a time when cyber-security threats, U.S. imperatives in the Arctic, ascension to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Asia-Pacific region loom as largely as budget cuts and reductions in force. ... “We are a maritime nation, but often it is hard to convince the public that we are a maritime nation,” Papp said. “One of the themes that I think we need to talk about this week is accession to the Law of the Sea Treaty. This is a very difficult issue for me to deal with because on almost a daily basis, when I meet with other countries, when I go to the International Maritime Organization, or some of our bilateral agreements for drug enforcement with South and Central America, we always get lectured on why we have not acceded to the Law of the Sea.
The head of the Coast Guard on Monday called for Congress to ratify a decades-old United Nations treaty aimed at easing international maritime negotiations, a task that lawmakers have attempted to complete for years. Because the United States has not yet ratified the 1982 Law of the Sea agreement, Commandant Robert J. Papp said his work coordinating with other nations is more difficult “on an almost daily basis.” ... “When I go to the International Maritime Organization, or some of our bilateral agreements that we have for drug enforcement through South and Central America, we always get lectured to start off on why we have not acceded to the Law of the Sea,” Papp said Monday at a maritime conference. “We’re the only Arctic nation that has not, and it really restricts us and sets us back when we’re trying to deal with other nations and trying to gain consensus on issues.”
This year's frenzy of oil and gas exploration in newly accessible Arctic waters could be the harbinger of even starker changes to come. … The United States has yet to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which most countries use as the basis for discussing thorny Arctic territorial issues.
At [a Tuft’s University] conference, … a general consensus emerged that the combination of a growing scarcity of resources combined with scientific breakthroughs for extracting them from the bottom of the icy waters and new pathways that are opening up due to climate change has put the Arctic at center stage in geopolitical conversation. The conference seemed to focus most sharply on the need for a precise legal and political framework for the Arctic Circle to be established by the Arctic Council, which is made up of Canada, the United States, Russia, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Finland. … But the U.S. does not have the same status on the council as the other seven nations because it has not yet ratified the UN’s Law of the Sea Treaty, which went into effect in 1994 with the signatures of 161 nations.
On Monday, the 11 Alaska State Lawmakers who travelled to Washington, D.C over the weekend returned to Juneau with a sobering message about protecting America's oil and gas drilling rights in the Arctic Ocean. They said that China -- a nation of 1.3 billion people -- was eyeing the Arctic, and that there was a good chance that the Chinese were hoping to get their hands on some of its wealth. … Both [Alaska State Representatives] Herron and Dyson agree: The United States must sign the 'Law of the Sea' Treaty. They say this would assure U.S. mineral and energy rights in the Arctic Ocean out to a distance of up to 350 miles.
As countries eye a vast array of untapped resources in the melting Arctic, an Alaska legislative task force wants the federal government to invest in new ice-breaking ships and the region's first U.S. Coast Guard base. … Some recommendations from the task force will be presented as resolutions to the state Legislature and Congress. One resolution already sent to the U.S. Senate calls for the U.S. to ratify the United Nations Law of the Sea treaty, a move that would "help legitimize U.S. claims to offshore resources beyond the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone," the report said.