THE EXPANSION OF STATE JURISDICTION AND INTERNATIONAL ORDER: THE CASE OF THE INTERNATIONAL SEABED AREA.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIn 1982 the USA and other major industrial states refused to sign the Convention on the Law of the Sea--the result of the Conference on the Law of the Sea--because of objections to its provisions on the seabed beyond state jurisdiction--the International Seabed Area. According to them the system set up by the Convention is favorable to the third world and inimical to the material and ideological interests of these industrial states. Concurrently, however, the US and its allies argue that the remaining provisions of the Convention are generally accepted and part of International Law. These provisions include, among other, transit passage through straits, the 12nm Territorial Sea, the 200nm Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf. In opposition to the Convention's seabed system the US has promoted efforts at a Reciprocating States' Agreement which, thus far, has resulted in a Provisional Understanding among eight western states. In this work I argue that the limits of state jurisdiction are not conclusively set and that both the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf are subject to political and legal challenges. Moreover, these challenges will grow stronger because of competition, primarily among the major industrial states, over the resources and the military and waste disposal uses of the seabed and because of the inconsistencies of major maritime states in their defense of narrow zones of coastal jurisdiction. With respect to the argument of the US and some of its allies that the deep seabed provisions of the Convention are beneficial to the third world and inimical to the major industrial states I suggest that this is not the case. In fact, the major industrial states are the primary beneficiaries of the Convention's seabed resource system, as they are the beneficiaries of the systems regulating the military and waste disposal uses of the High Seas and the international seabed. The core characteristic of the resource system, however, is the protection it offers to the less endowed among these industrial states and to the major industrializing states. Inasmuch as the Provisional Understanding does not protect these states--most of which are in a position to challenge a variety of the Convention's remaining provisions--the Reciprocating States' Agreement strategy is conflictual and destabilizing.
Degree ProgramPolitical Science