As a sovereign state, the United States can object to overlapping claims and take action in the Arctic consistent with international law.
Columbia, that continental shelf rights exist as a matter of fact and do not need to be expressly claimed. Even if custom provides one remedy, a contract is better than a handshake — more so in a world of power and interdependence. Intergovernmental bodies like the Arctic Council , while useful for multilateral cooperation, lack authority for resolving territorial conflicts. In the view of Washington, these limitations include undue attempts to curtail the freedoms of navigation and overflight in EEZs.
Notably, China takes an opposing view and asserts the ability to prohibit foreign military operations in its claimed EEZs. Like U. For example, in August , a Chinese J fighter dangerously intercepted a U. P-8A Poseidon, a naval reconnaissance aircraft, operating in the South China Sea approximately nautical miles east of Hainan Island. Beijing has repeatedly attempted to link security prerogatives with the functional jurisdiction of maritime zones, like EEZs, by limiting high seas freedoms, even to the extent of threatening unduly restrictive aircraft defense identification zones ADIZs in international airspace.
For instance, although some Chinese-claimed features are entitled to a territorial sea 12 nautical miles none of the features in the Spratly Islands or Scarborough Reef generate an EEZ nautical miles or continental shelf.
These debates over high seas freedoms and EEZs are likely to continue. The United States can more effectively anticipate and shape these debates impacting U.
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In a twist, U. As I explained previously , the arbitral tribunal was careful to limit its discretion to determining whether certain Chinese-claimed features — particularly in relation to the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal — could generate maritime entitlements as high-tide features. The arbitral tribunal, however, could have declined to even rule on these issues in light of the impact an analysis on maritime features and entitlements would implicitly have on Chinese boundary claims.
By analogy, under the U. The fact that China did not withdraw suggests that the balance of interests favored continued participation in UNCLOS, a calculus that could further tilt as Beijing advances its blue-water navy. Myron Nordquist offered a hypothetical in which the United States ratifies and submits a similar declaration , but in relation to excluding disputes over military activities from compulsory dispute settlement Article 1 b.
Despite such a declaration and U. Other potential controversies could include revisiting U. During his confirmation hearing, Secretary Tillerson backed away from his letter , acknowledging domestic critics of international courts. General James Mattis was similarly circumspect before the Senate. Even the abstract threat of international court jurisdiction results in theatrics in American politics.
But the Trump administration has already demonstrated a clear penchant for withdrawing from international agreements — such the Trans-Pacific Partnership , a multilateral trade agreement, and the Paris Agreement , a global climate accord. As noted above, the Congressional nomination testimonies of Secretaries Tillerson and Mattis provide little comfort. If the Trump administration were to oppose UNCLOS ratification it would be a remarkable and deplorable break in bi-partisan presidential leadership. According to a Congressional report , in the course of U. Senate inaction has proven to be a very effective veto.
Even treaties that flow from American leadership , in areas like protecting rights for persons with disabilities , are rejected. As such, treaty ratification would be a monumental and surprising legacy-builder for Trump. Advocates and opponents of U. In my view, this reality demonstrates the wisdom of locking-in U. Unfortunately, the contemporary political environment is characterized by a rigidness and polarization that defy supple solutions for U. The current populist strain is characterized by a faith in strong leaders, a disdain of perceived limits on sovereignty and a distrust of powerful international institutions.
We will remain committed to international security cooperation based on mutual respect and common interest. The most serious challenge is currently the North Korean nuclear issue. The Korean nuclear issue is a most unfortunate case. For over 60 years following the ceasefire in the Korean War, there has only existed a truce agreement, as no peace deal has been forged and US troops have remained on the peninsula.
Deep distrust makes it impossible for any bilateral or multilateral agreement on the nuclear issue to be fully implemented. Is there any hope for a peaceful solution to the North Korean nuclear issue? It is an encouraging sign that an opportunity for easing tensions between South Korea and North Korea has emerged as the South has capitalized on the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics to open dialogues with the North, which responded positively.
THE LAW OF THE SEA CONVENTION — US ACCESSION AND GLOBALIZATION
The fact that the US and South Korea have agreed to delay their regular joint military exercises during the Winter Games in February and March has paved the way for future talks and consultations. While China believes that sanctions are necessary and has fully complied with the UN Security Council resolutions concerning sanctions on North Korea, we also hold that sanctions only work when the door for negotiation is open. For this reason, China has made painstaking efforts to promote dialogue and negotiation. China-US coordination is essential.
Since President Donald Trump took office, the relationship between China and the US has been smooth, with both countries demonstrating a willingness to tackle bilateral issues and avoid a collision. But apart from their differences over trade, they are deeply divided over the South China Sea. Territorial disputes over islands and shoals in the South China Sea are not new. In the process of improving relations in the s, China and the ASEAN countries reached a basic agreement on shelving disputes and pursuing joint development through dialogue and negotiations.
China commenced reclamation projects around the Nansha or Spratly Islands at the end of The islands, which are under the control of China, are far away from international navigation routes and therefore pose no restriction on the freedom of international navigation.
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The US and the Philippines reacted strongly and criticized China. Some other countries in the area also expressed concerns. The Philippines even brought an arbitration case without the prior consultation of China, as was required according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Treaty making process
The case was rejected by China. The US also stepped up its intervention, sending ships to sail near the Chinese islands and shoals. Yet China will not surrender its territorial sovereignty and corresponding maritime rights, nor will it condone other parties intervening in disputes between China and its neighbors. The differences between China and the US regarding these disputes have the potential to become the major point of tension in the South China Sea.
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