Obama administration pushes to ratify Law of Sea treaty to deter China

Special to WorldTribune.com

Compiled by Miles Yu, Geostrategy-Direct.com

Senior Obama administration officials last week urged the Senate to approve a bill authorizing the U.S. to become a party to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Law of the Sea Convention on May 23. /Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Doing so, they said, would better deter China’s “excessive” claims in the Western Pacific region.

“As a non-party, we cede the legal high ground to China,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“We put ourselves on the defensive. We are not as strong an advocate for our friends and allies in the region as I would like us to be, and I don’t think that’s any place for the world’s pre-eminent maritime power to find ourselves,” she told a key Senate panel.

The Law of the Sea convention was drafted in the early 1980s. So far, some 160 countries, including China, have signed it. But the U.S. has not.

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