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CHAPTER EIGHT


Oceans and the Law
Defining Trends
U.S. Security Interests
Key U.S. Security Policy Issues
In fall 1994, the Clinton administration submitted to the Senate for approval the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, as well as a 1994 agreement reforming chapter XI of the treaty, dealing with seabed mining, which for over a decade had been the primary impediment to U.S. adoption of the Convention. The Defense Department has been a longstanding supporter of the law of the sea treaty. Secretary of Defense William Perry described U.S. interests in the treaty as follows:

We support the Convention because it confirms traditional high seas freedoms of navigation and overflight; it details passage rights through international straits; and it reduces prospects for disagreements with coastal states during operations.

In addition to strongly supporting U.S. interests in freedom of navigation, the Convention provides an effective framework for serious efforts to address land and sea-based sources of pollution and overfishing. Moreover, the agreement provides the U.S. with an opportunity to participate with other industrialized nations in a widely accepted international order to regulate and safeguard the many diverse activities, interests, and resources in the world's oceans.


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