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 said the pact is necessary to protect theU.S. Navy s right to carry out exercises off the coast of China. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told U.S. lawmakers and othersmeeting on the treaty Wednesday in Washington that it is time forthe United States to ratify the 30-year-old pact, which sets ruleson navigation and exclusive economic zones.
Panetta said the treaty will ensure that U.S. warships, commercialvessels and aircraft have access to go where needed. The time has come for the United States to have a seat at thetable. The time has come for the United States to fully assert itsrole as a global leader and accede to this important treaty,”Panetta said.
“IIt is the bedrock legal instrument underpinningpublic order across the maritime domain. We are the onlypermanent member of the U.N. Security Council that is not a partyto it. The Obama administration says that ratifying the pact will protectthe U.S. Navy s right to conduct exercises in waters near China,where Chinese ships in the past have harassed U.S. Industrial High Bay Lighting
vessels. China, which is a party to the treaty, claims control over itsexclusive economic zone that extends about 370 kilometers from itscoast and can therefore ban foreign navies from conductingexercises in the area. The United States says no such controlexists beyond about 22 kilometers from the coast. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General MartinDempsey, said Washington believes that being part of the Law of theSea treaty will help bridge international differences. Flexible LED Strip Lights Manufacturer
Theconvention gives us another tool to effectively resolve conflictsat every level. It provides a common language, and therefore abetter opportunity, to settle disputes with cooperation instead ofcannons, he said. U.S. ratification of the convention has been held up over concernsamong some congressional leaders who warn that the treaty threatensU.S. Outdoor LED Flood Lights Manufacturer
sovereignty and gives the United Nations too much control overoil and other mineral rights. Treaty opponents say ratifyingthe pact will not cause China to change its maritime claims. The U.S. push to approve the treaty comes as the Pentagon focusesnew attention on China s military buildup and its expandinginfluence in the Asia-Pacific region.
Washington has also beenpaying close attention to a dispute that has been escalatingbetween Beijing and the Philippines over an island in the SouthChina Sea.