News / USA

US Administration Renews Push to Ratify Law of Sea Treaty

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, speaks at the Forum on the Law of the Sea Convention, May 9, 2012, in Washington.Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, speaks at the Forum on the Law of the Sea Convention, May 9, 2012, in Washington.
x
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, speaks at the Forum on the Law of the Sea Convention, May 9, 2012, in Washington.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, speaks at the Forum on the Law of the Sea Convention, May 9, 2012, in Washington.
Luis Ramirez
THE PENTAGON - The Obama administration is beginning a new push to get the U.S. Senate to approve the 1982 United Nations Law of the Sea treaty. Administration officials say the pact is necessary to protect the U.S. Navy’s right to carry out exercises off the coast of China.  

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told U.S. lawmakers and others meeting on the treaty Wednesday in Washington that it is time for the United States to ratify the 30-year-old pact, which sets rules on navigation and exclusive economic zones.

Panetta said the treaty will ensure that U.S. warships, commercial vessels and aircraft have access to go where needed.

“The time has come for the United States to have a seat at the table. The time has come for the United States to fully assert its role as a global leader and accede to this important treaty," Panetta said. "IIt is the bedrock legal instrument underpinning public order across the maritime domain.  We are the only permanent member of the U.N. Security Council that is not a party to it.”

The Obama administration says that ratifying the pact will protect the U.S. Navy’s right to conduct exercises in waters near China, where Chinese ships in the past have harassed U.S. vessels.

China, which is a party to the treaty, claims control over its exclusive economic zone that extends about 370 kilometers from its coast and can therefore ban foreign navies from conducting exercises in the area.  The United States says no such control exists beyond about 22 kilometers from the coast.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Martin Dempsey, said Washington believes that being part of the Law of the Sea treaty will help bridge international differences. “The convention gives us another tool to effectively resolve conflicts at every level.  It provides a common language, and therefore a better opportunity, to settle disputes with cooperation instead of cannons,” he said.

U.S. ratification of the convention has been held up over concerns among some congressional leaders who warn that the treaty threatens U.S. sovereignty and gives the United Nations too much control over oil and other mineral rights.  Treaty opponents say ratifying the pact will not cause China to change its maritime claims.

The U.S. push to approve the treaty comes as the Pentagon focuses new attention on China’s military buildup and its expanding influence in the Asia-Pacific region. Washington has also been paying close attention to a dispute that has been escalating between Beijing and the Philippines over an island in the South China Sea.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid