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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid