The Senate Foreign Relations committee heard from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and the Joint Chiefs of Staffs Chairman, General Martin Dempsey, on the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. The U.S. is the only major country that has not ratified the treaty.
In a forum at the Atlantic Council earlier this month, all three leaders said that the treaty was crucial to establishing ocean rights in the Asia-Pacific region and in other key international waters.
The treaty's opponents have argued that it will restrict military movements and limit the ability of the U.S. to gather intelligence in territorial waters.
According to the Washington Post, "the treaty regulates the ocean’s use for military, transportation and mineral extraction purposes and it recognizes sovereign rights over a country’s continental shelf out to 200 nautical miles and beyond if a country can substantiate its claims."
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was adopted by the U.N in July 1994 and signed by President Clinton subject to ratification that month.