Peru Will Not Ratify Law of the Sea Treaty

by Julian Ku

Peru’s got bigger issues to deal with these days, like recovering from an enormous earthquake. But the government there is still determined to pursue its territorial sea dispute with Chile by bringing a case to the ICJ. (By the way, this would make it the first new case for the ICJ this year). Additionally, its minister of foreign affairs announced that Peru will NOT ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,(link fixed) because signing that treaty was not necessary to resolve the dispute with Chile. This may or may not be a good strategy for Peru. It does puncture one misconception about UNCLOS. Just because a state does not sign the treaty, doesn’t mean it can’t delimit territorial seas and continental shelves by agreement with its neighbors. It might make it easier to settle borders, but UNCLOS is not necessary to do so. This doesn’t mean the U.S. Senate shouldn’t ratify UNCLOS. But it shouldn’t do so thinking that UNCLOS is the only way to settle U.S. claims in the Arctic, etc.

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