Insofar as the internal waters and territorial sea is

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Insofar as the internal waters and territorial sea is concerned, the Coastal State exercises sovereignty, subject to the UNCLOS and other rules of international law. Such sovereignty extends to the air space over the territorial sea as well as to its bed and subsoil. A foreign warship's unauthorized entry into our internal waters with resulting damage to marine resources is one situation in which the above provisions may apply. But what if the offending warship is a non-party to the UNCLOS, as in this case, the US? An overwhelming majority - over 80% - - of nation states are now members of UNCLOS, but despite this the US, the world's leading maritime power, has not ratified it. Justice Carpio invited our attention to the policy statement given by President Reagan on March 10, 1983 that the US will "recognize the rights of the other , states in the waters off their coasts, as reflected in the convention [UNCLOS], so long as the rights and freedom of the United States and others under international law are recognized by such coastal states", and President Clinton's reiteration of the US policy "to act in a manner consistent with its [UNCLOS] provisions relating to traditional uses of the oceans and to encourage other countries to do likewise." Since Article 31 relates to the "traditional uses of the oceans," and "if under its policy, the US 'recognize[s] the rights of the other states in the waters off their coasts,"' Justice Carpio postulates that "there is more reason to expect it to recognize the rights of other states in their internal waters, such as the Sulu Sea in this case." As to the non-ratification by the US, Justice Carpio emphasizes that "the US' refusal to join the UN CLOS was centered on its disagreement with UN CLOS' regime of deep seabed mining (Part XI) which considers the oceans and deep seabed commonly owned by mankind," pointing out that such "has nothing to do with its [the US'] acceptance of customary international rules on navigation."
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POLITICAL LAW CASE DIGESTS 315 We fully concur with Justice Carpio's view that non-membership in the UNCLOS does not mean that the US will disregard the rights of the Philippines as a Coastal State over its internal waters and territorial sea. We thus expect the US to bear "international responsibility" under Art. 31 in connection with the USS Guardian grounding which adversely affected the Tubbataha reefs. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine that our long- time ally and trading partner, which has been actively supporting the country's efforts to preserve our vital marine resources, would shirk from its obligation to compensate the damage caused by its warship while transiting our internal waters. Much less can we comprehend a Government exercising leadership in international affairs, unwilling to comply with the UNCLOS directive for all nations to cooperate in the global task to protect and preserve the marine environment as provided in Article 197.
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