Last month’s much-awaited ruling in Philippines v. China rekindled a longstanding debate among foreign-policy experts and elected officials over the implications of the Senate’s decades-long refusal to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). But rather than focus on China’s blatant disregard for its international legal obligations, some have highlighted that the United States’ absence from UNCLOS allows China “to deflect U.S. criticism and highlight Washington’s hypocrisy,” as East Asia expert Ali Wyne put it. Even President Obama has endorsed such a view,stating, “If we’re truly concerned about China’s actions in the South China Sea . . . the Senate should help strengthen our case by approving the Law of the Sea Convention.”
The above excerpt was originally published in The National Interest.
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