U.S. Tries to Press China Sea Rights With Pact

Publication: The Wall Street Journal

Author: Julian E. Barnes


05/08/2012 - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is beginning a new push for Senate approval of the Law of the Sea treaty, a long-stalled pact military officials believe is essential to preserve the Navy's right to conduct exercises in waters near China and to enhance U.S. claims in the Arctic and elsewhere.

Conservatives have blocked ratification for years, arguing it gives too much power to international organizations over mineral rights, mainly oil. But with the Obama administration's new emphasis on Asia and with China's increasing aggressiveness, some officials believe ratification could at last be at hand.

The Law of the Sea Treaty sets out international rules for maritime navigation, territorial waters and countries' use of offshore areas as exclusive economic zones.

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In a speech set for Wednesday sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Atlantic Council—a nonprofit that promotes international relations—Mr. Panetta will argue that ratifying the treaty would help ensure the U.S. has freedom of navigation in the world's oceans at a time when a new defense strategy acknowledges America's return to its "maritime roots."

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Read the full article, U.S. Tries to Press China Sea Rights With Pact, on the Wall Street Journal's website. 

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