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6. Conflict over natural resources in the pacific

6.1 The region and its resources
6.2 Conflicts over marine space
6.3 Conflicts over the marine environment
6.4 Conficting maritime claims
6.5 Conflicts over pelagic resources
6.6 Conflict over seabed mineral resources
6.7 Conclusions
References

 

James M. Anthony

THE history of the Pacific islands is in no small measure a history of conflict over natural resources. Before foreigners came to the Pacific in seareh of whales, gold, cheap labour, sandalwood, land in the sun, noble savages, and candidates for conversion to their religious beliefs, Pacific islanders themselves were engaged in contention over one natural resource that was sacred and searee- land. With the arrival of foreigners, the islanders were pitted in long and often bitter disputes with the new arrivals and sometimes among themselves.

In the wake of European rediscovery of the Pacific and its peoples, an era of unsurpassed conflict over natural resources began. Land was at the core of these struggles. The more flagrant instances are well known-the Maoris of New Zealand were divested of 63 million of the 66 million acres once owned by them; the Kanaks of New Caledonia were deprived of ownership of all their lands when the French colonized them in 1853; by the early part of the twentieth century, the Hawaiians had lost almost all of the land once held under native customary tenure; in Fiji, shortly after that country had become a British Crown Colony in 1874 some of the best land was judged by a Land Claims Commission appointed by the newly established British colonial government to have been 'properly alienated' to a motley collection of itinerant foreigners. But the loss of as precious a resource as land was not the end of the story. In time, there was conflict over other natural resources as well. In each case the natives lost, perhaps not completely but substantially. Ownership and control of most natural resources passed into foreign hands.

The conflict over natural resources in the Pacific islands has so far largely been over those that are land based: minerals, people, sandalwood, lumber, and fresh water. Largely ignored in the first two decades after the end of the Second World War, the Pacific is now being 're-rediscovered'. That in itself ought not to be considered too surprising. The Pacific, after all, is a huge body of water separating the United States from its largest trading partners-the countries of East Asia, and Japan in particular. Moreover, it is through the Pacific that an increasing volume of American, Soviet, and other maritime traffic, military as well as commercial, travels into East and SouthEast Asian ports, beyond them into the Indian Ocean, and from there to the Middle East. The United States claims that this is yet another area vital to its interests. And to lend legitimacy to that claim, the familiar spectre of the Soviet threat to this area has also been raised. The elements to make this a new theatre of the Cold War are present: strategic seabed mineral resources, petroleum and gas, marine space, and specks of land in a vast ocean that must not be allowed to fall into hostile hands, domestic or foreign. It is against this background of 'strategic denial' that the general subject of conflict over natural resources in the Pacific will be addressed.

Although it might be revealing to document, assess, and analyse the historical record of the various manifestations of conflict over natural resources in the Pacific, that is not the purpose of this essay. The concern here is with the 're-rediscovery' of the Pacific and its effect on the frontier resources of the ocean-fish, seabed minerals, marine ecosystems, hydrocarbons, and marine space-in the expanded ocean areas that now fall within the jurisdiction of island states.

Since the island states themselves are surrounded by metropolitan, industrialized states-North and South America to the east; the Soviet Union, South Korea, Japan, China, and parts of South-East Asia to the west, and Australia and New Zealand to the south-west-it will be necessary to examine to some extent the involvement of these metropolitan powers (as well as others such as France and West Germany) in the present and future exploitation of Pacific marine and related resources. In addition, it will be necessary to examine such actual and potential conflict as might exist within and between island states over questions like disputed ocean boundaries, rates and terms of resource exploitation, and protection of the marine environment.

Underlying the issues examined, the questions posed, and the trends identified is a narrow spectrum of complex, interrelated, and in some ways paradoxical concerns that are of fundamental importance to the future of this vast, now strategic region. Small in terms of population, smaller still in terms of land mass, this is a part of the world that lies in the centreof a vast ocean that covers a third of the earth's surface. Despite their physical location in the centre of the region, the islands have long been relegated to the periphery by some of the larger countries around the Pacific rim. This is nowhere more clear than in the volume of material on what has come to be known variously as the Pacific Community or the Pacific Basin Economic Community.

In the grand plans discussed in Tokyo, Washington, Canberra, and other distant capitals, the islands of the Pacific have for a long time been taken for granted. This was illustrated by Jiro Tokuyama, Dean of the Nomura School of Advanced Management and an adviser to the important Tokyo-based Nomura Researeh Institute, when he spoke on the subject of 'The Emerging Pacific Community' at a closed meeting in Honolulu in October 1984. Tokuyama, in a 21-page prepared address, had not one word to say about the Pacific islands. When questioned from the floor about this omission, he seemed perplexed at first, but then answered that the islands could, in the emergent twenty-first century economic order, be the playground for tired businessmen (and women) and others from the rim countries. It might be argued that being figurative 'hewers of wood and carriers of water' in a super twenty-first century hotel industry may not be the worst fate for Pacific islanders. What is intriguing in this scenario is the question of whether Pacific islanders will own the hotels or whether they will be owned and controlled by the transnational corporations that will have mined the ocean floor for minerals and reinvested the profits in a Pacific-wide island hotel boom.

If this scenario were to be realized-and it might be-it would be a repetition of history. The resources of the land made others rich the first time around. Now that the islanders have a rare second chance to play the resource exploitation game again-this time with their last resources land and those of the ocean- how will the spoils be divided? Developed nations view the South Pacific as a place to freely fish for tuna, test their weapons and, possibly, store or dump their waste and mine the seabed minerals. The islanders are pitted again, albeit in different historical circumstances, against those who possess technological superiority and financial power. The issues for the island states, collectively and individually, coalesce around dcpcndence, equity, life-style and survival. These issues kc at the heart of this struggle, and the consequences, if not approached with creativity, vision, and unusually enlightened political and intellectual leadership, may, in the emerging world division of labour, relegate all the inhabitants of the Pacific (barring a few local political and economic brokers) to permanent servitude. In this respect, Pacific islanders are in a position no different from that of other resourcerich Third World peoples. Their problems and opportunities are in microcosm the very same as those of others in the Third World.

6.1 The region and its resources

The Pacific region contains some 10.000 islands having a total land area of 550 000 sq. km and a total population of approximately 5 million (Table 6.1; Figure 6.1). The total area claimed by the island states as part of their 200-nmi exclusive economic zones (EEZs) is about 30 000 000 sq. km in an ocean with an area of 165 000 000 sq. km.

The tropical islands of the Pacific are distributed both north and south of the equator roughly between 140 W and 130 E longitude (Figure 6.1). These are islands that have long stretches of white sandy beaches, palm trees, and summer all year long. Not all of them are low-lying coral atolls-some, such as Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomons, are high islands. They are relatively rich in land-based natural resources including minerals such as gold, copper, and manganese.

Because of their geographical location, all of these islands have two resources that are particularly important-climate and marine space. Climatic and related conditions provide an environment that attracts increasingly large numbers of travellers, and the islands are becoming resort areas financed by international sources of capital. This development provides jobs for islanders, thus sustaining increasing appetites for foreign-produced goods and services. This is part of the vicious cycle of import dependence and adverse balance of trade that characterizes the islands' economies.

TABLE 6.1 - Population and Land and Sea Area of Countries in the South Pacific Commission Areal

Country Population (mid-1978) Land Area (sq. km) Sea Area (sq km) Sea Area
        Land Area
American Samoa 31,500 197 390 000 1,980
Cook Islands 18,500 240 1 830 000 7,625
Fiji 607,000 18 272 1 290 000 71
French Polynesia 141,000 3 265 5 030 000 1,541
Guam 90,000 541 Included in TTPI n.a.
Kiribati 56,000 684 3 550 000 5,190
Nauru 7,000 21 320 000 15,238
New Caledonia 138,000 19 103 1 740 000 91
New Hebrides 101,500 11 880 680 000 57
Nioe 3,700 259 390 000 1,506
Norfolk Island 1,900 36 400 000 11,111
Papua New Guinea 2,990,000 462 243 3 120 000 7
Pitcairn Island 100 5 800 000 160,000
Solomon Islands 214;000 28 530 1 340 000 47
Tokelau 1,600 10 290 000 29,000
Tonga 93,000 699 700 000 1,001
Trust Territory of the        
Pacific Islands 133,000 1 832 6 200 000 3,384
Tuvalu 7,400 26 900 000 34,615
Wallis and Futuna 10,000 255 300 000 1,176
Western Samoa 153,000 2 935 120 000 41
Total 4,798,200 551 033 29 390 000 (Av.) 53

Source: Feleti Sevele and Alan Bollard (1979), SotIth Pacifir Etotnutties: A Statistical Summary, Occasional Paper, v. 15. Noumea: South Pacific Commission.
n.a. = not available.
1Includes 200-ntiti EEZs.

6.2 Conflicts over marine space

The fundamental resource is marine space itself. The Pacific Ocean has become more important than the Atlantic to both the United States and the Soviet Union, and particularly the US alliesJapan, South Korea, and Australia. The Pacific islands have grown in strategic importance, as both superpowers deploy increasing numbers of surface and subsurface vessels as part of an unprecedented buildup of their nuclear-powered and nuclear weapon-carrying fleets.

Figure 6.1 The South Pacific Region with 200-nmi Exclusive Economic Zones.

Source: Based on B. Cicin-Sain and R. W. Knetch (1989), 'The Emergence of a Regional Ocean Regime in the South Pacific', East-West Environment and Policy Institute, Working Paper No. 14 January, Figure 1.

Despite withdrawing from the Asian land mass after its Vietnam fiasco, the United States has continued to consolidate its military positions on the Pacific rim and presently has a forward deployment network stretching from its East and South-East Asian bases in Japan and the Philippines to Diego Gareia in the southern Indian Ocean. At the same time, there has been a corresponding buildup of Soviet military power in the Pacific and Indian oceans-the Soviet Pacific fleet of almost 200 warships, carriers, attack submarines, and strategic missile submarines today is probably as strong as, if not stronger than, the US Pacific fleet.

More ominous for peace and security in the region is the deployment of a new generation of nuclear weapons on naval vessels in the western Pacific-the Tomahawk cruise missile with a 200kiloton warhead more than nine times as powerful as the bomb that devastated Nagasaki-highlights the spread of the nuclear arms race into the Asia-Pacific region.

The United States claims that the Soviet Union already has cruise missiles on its ships and submarines in the western Pacific. The most significant development has been increased Soviet access to military facilities in Vietnam's Cam Ranh Bay and Danang airfield. About four 'Bear' long-range patrol aircraft conduct maritime surveillance of submarine and surface shipping in the South China Sea sea lanes from Bashi Channel to the Natura Islands and can probe radar and air defences of ASEAN countries. There is also a constant presence in Vietnam of nine 'Badger' medium-range bombers, capable of attacking surface shipping and submarines in the South China Sea, and 20 to 26 surface ships and 4 to 6 submarines in Cam Ranh Bay.

These powers recognize that marine space itself, aside from the mineral and pelagic resources it contains, is a vital resource in its own right. This resource has so far apparently been unrecognized by islanders for its strategic importance, in terms of surface and subsurface naval mobility, and surveillance and seabed weapon systems. It could give the islanders a valuable bargaining chip in dealings with both major and minor foreign powers.

UNCLOS is not yet in force and will not come into force until or unless it has been by 60 signatories (Kimball, 1984). At present, only 41 states have ratified the Treaty (Coquia, 1989) and it may be years before the requisite 60 ratifications are in hand, if ever. Most states have signed the Convention and thus have an obligation not to defeat the object and purpose of the Treaty between signature and its entry into force. However, signatories could argue that only an action which would cause irreversible harm to the Treaty would be a violation of this obligation, and that there are relatively few actions that would do so. For example, a state claiming a 200-nmi territorial sea could argue that it was not incompatible with UNCLOS because the claim could be converted to a 200-nmi EEZ if and when the Convention enters into force (Gamble and Frankowska, 1984).

The United States, West Germany, and the United Kingdom have refused to sign the Treaty and have declared they will not ratify it. The refusal of these countries to sign the Law of the Sea Treaty may cause navigational difficultees for vessels flying their flag, particularly their warships. The Treaty elaborates the right of innocent passage in the territorial sea, formalizes the right of passage through straits used for international navigation and through arehipelagic sea lanes, and protects navigational rights in exclusive economic zones. These rights include the submerged passage of submarines through straits and arehipelagic waters over which countries claim sovereignty. These provisions were adopted after difficult negotiations over nearly 15 years and many important developing nations feel they gave up important security interests in agreeing to these provisions. Indeed, many nations feel that the United States negotiated in bad faith by refusing to sign the Treaty after inducing them to agree to many compromises over a long period of time regarding navigation rights. Some nations believe that non-signatories do not have these rights and a few of these may even try to prevent vessels of non-signatories from navigating in specific areas under their control (Kimball, 984)

In this atmosphere of legal and political uncertainty, states could take one or more of several actions. States which ratify UNCLOS could deny to the United States, the United Kingdom, and West Germany passage and overflight along sea lanes in arehipelagos and transit passage through straits within territorial seas, arguing that these rights are not customary law and do not accrue to non signatories of UNCLOS. Whether or not such an interpretation is made will presumably depend on the overall quality of the state's relationship with the non-signatories. In and bordering the Pacific, Indonesia, the Philippines, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu have claimed arehipelagic status (Figure 6.I). New Caledonia could claim arehipelagic status according to the Treaty provisions except Chesterfield and South Bellona reefs, and Hunter and Matthew islands (Prescott, 1983). The Philippines and Tonga claim as territorial waters the seas within their historic frame defined in 1898 and 1887 respectively (Figure 6. I) (Prescott, 1983: 496). El Salvador, Panama, Ecuador, and Peru claim territorial seas out to 200 nmi (Borgese and Ginsburg, 1982). Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru claim sovereignty within the 200-nmi limit ( Juda, 1986). If a vvarship does not comply with the laws and regulations of the coastal state concerning passage through the territorial sea and disregards any request for compliance therewith, the coastal state may require it to leave its territorial sea immediately (United Nations, 1982). Some Eastern European countries even maintain that warships enjoy no right of innocent passage in the territorial sea (Lowe, 1986).

States could substitute the innocent passage regime for transit passage and sea-lane passage, especially for non-signatories. Innocent passage is that which is not prejudicial to the peace, good order, or security of the coastal state, and it can be suspended. Submarines must travel on the surface. Transit passage through straits must be a continuous and expeditious movement between high seas and exclusive economic zones and it cannot be impeded. The sea-lane passage regime is similar and cannot be obstructed (United Nations, 1982: Articles 17-22, 38, and 53).

If the party using innocent passage is not a party to UNCLOS or UNCLOS is not in force, the coastal state could argue that the 1958 Convention applies and that the coastal state can characterize passage as offensive or prejudicial to coastal state interests based on the simple presence of the vessel, including its cargo type (Jin, 1986: Burke, 1986). If the state is not a party to the 1958 Geneva Convention and has not signed UNCLOS, it becomes a question of whether the state has acceded to customary practice in this regard or whether it has, like China, declared that it is not bound by this Convention (Jin, 1986). Even if the user is a party, the coastal state could argue that an activity of the vessel not having a direct bearing on passage-perhaps the discharge of radioactive material-makes its passage non-innocent (United Nations, 1982: Article 19).

States could require prior notification and authorization for foreign warships to cuter their territorial sea, or for that matter, their arehipelagic waters, arguing that although the Convention is silent on this matter, under the Convention the coastal state does retain the right to adopt measures to safeguard its security interests (United Nations, 1982: Articles 19) and 25; Burke, 1986; Sohn, 1986; Anand, 1986). Some 38 states presently require prior notification and/or approval for foreign warships to enter their territorial sea, including China and Papua New Guinea. Indonesia requires such notification for innocent passage of warships unless the innocent passage is conducted through designated sea lanes (Noegroho, 1986). France has certainly broken new ground in the interpretation of non-innocent passage by denying the Greenpeace access to its harbour for repairs because, in the words of Bernard Gerard, the High Commissioner of French Polynesia, 'Greenpeace through its attitude, has violated the right of innocent passage in international waters' (Honolulu Advertiser, 9 October 1985). This could become a precedent for Pacific states to ban foreign warships. States could require foreign ships exercising the right of innocent passage through their territorial sea to use designated sea lanes and traffic separation schemes (United Nations, 1982: Article 22).

States could claim various limits and regimes on the basis of uniqueness and the fact that many other states have done so, including the maritime powers. Some fifteen states already claim territorial seas to 200 mni; three others claim box-like territorial sea limits around island groups (Alexander, 1986). Over a dozen states have special security zones (Lowe, 1986: 181). Burma, India, and Vietnam prohibit alien warships and aircraft from military warning zones 24 nmi wide while Kampuchea and Indonesia have such zones 12 nmi wide (Prescott and Morgan, 1983). China has a military warning zone extending at some points to 50 nmi from the coast; North Korea has one out to 50 nmi; South Korea, a US ally, one extending 150 nmi in the Sea of Japan and 100 nmi in the Yellow Sea; and Nicaragua, one extending 25 nmi and requiring 15 days' advance notice by foreign warships and planes. At least two dozen water bodies have been claimed as historic, including Canada's Hudson May, the Soviet Union's Sea of Azov, Panama's Gulf of Panama, China's Bohai Bay, Burma's Gulf of Martaban, Thailand's Bight of Bangkok, and Vietnam's Gulf of Tonkin (Sohn, 1986; Alexander, 1986).

Restrictive regimes could be applied to aircraft overflying a state's land and marine airspace. In principle, there is no right of innocent passage for aircraft over land or territorial sea and states commonly require aircraft to identify themselves one hour's flying time outside national territory. Outside of UNCLOS, there are no general transit rights analogous to the concept of straits used for international navigation. State aircraft, defined as aircraft used in military, police, and customs services, are excluded from the scope of the Convention on International Civil Aviation and are therefore mainly subject to national regulation. With regard to rights of overflight for foreign military aircraft, states are generally reluctant to incur far-reaching obligations. On the whole, freedom of overflight is granted only in particular situations and with the proviso of revocability (Christol, 1978; Hailbronnery 1983).

States might even claim the space above their maritime jurisdictional zones as a national resource. In 1976 eight equatorial countries claimed segments of the orbit directly above thern as integral parts of their national territory over which they had sovereign rights. Such claims might be extended to include orbit segments over territorial seas, arehipelagic waters, and EEZs as well. There are numerous satellites which contribute to global monitoring of the oceans and are invaluable in Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). Still more are under development (Wilkes, 1980: 238; Jaseni, 1985, 1980). If deployed, the Strategic Defense Initiative programme would place weapons in orbit. Satellites also gather scientific researeh data from the territorial sea and EEZs of Pacific nations without their knowledge or consent, an activity which in theory may be denied under the provisions of UNCLOS.

Many of these satellites supply information on weather, waves, wind, sea temperature, and surface vessel traffic, and relay data on currents, tempcraturc, and sound velocity from remote, unattended-freefloating and even submerged-buoys to land stations. New imaging techniques permit the production of precise maps of the sea floor (US News and World Report, 1986). Of more direct application hi ASW are satellite-borne blue-green lasers which may be used for communication with or detection of submerged submarines; the mapping of all surface ships so that sound from surface ships of no interest can be distinguished on underwater sound sensing systems from hostile submarines; detection of surface thermal anomalies resulting from the heat released from the reactor; or detection of hydrodynamic signatures that result when turbulence from a submarine's wake mixes water of different temperature, salinity, and biological content into the surface.

In considering taking any of these options, states must also consider the possibilities of enforcing these regimes. There are several possible options of enforcement which, when taken by several states individually or collectively, may create problems for maritime powers. To detect violations of national regimes by, for example, submarines, states could purchase the equipment from like-minded third parties such as Sweden, Japan, or even China. Alternatively, they could play one nuclear power off against another and request the equipment or the intelligence as defence assistance. After all, the United States and its allies often communicate and even publicize the presence of Soviet warships in other countries' waters (Bradley, 1986). And with the Law of the Sea uncertain, the superpowers are competing with each other for influence over strategically located coastal states, particularly those bordering choke points because it is precisely in such choke points that monitoring systems would be most important. Such monitoring might also be placed under the control of a United Nations observation team (Sakamoto, 1984).

Nuclear-free Zones

Like ripples before a fresh wind, the concept and implementation of nuclear weapon-free zones is spreading through Asia and the Pacific. Following it are clouds of confrontation. Outer space, the ocean floor, Antaretica, and Latin America are already nuclearfree zones (Tanter, 1985). Formal multilateral proposals have been made for an Indian Ocean Zone of Peace and a South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone, and a South-East Asian Nuclear Free Zone is under discussion (Tanter, 1985; Valencia, 1985). New Zealand, Vanuatu, and Palau have individually declared their own versions of such policies (Tanter, 1985) and Vanuatu, the Solomons, and Papua New Guinea would prefer to ban vessels bearing nuclear weapons from their territorial waters (Robie, 1986). China may be considering something similar for its ports and territorial waters4 (Chanda, 1985; New Straits Times, 1985; Honolulu Advertiser, 7 May 1985). The declaration of principles by the Philippines' Constitutional Commission states that the Philippines adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory (Honolulu Advertiser, 26 December 1984; Clad, 1986). The Kanak independence movement is opposed to French militarization of New Caledonia, including the introduction of nuclear weapons (Tanter, 1985). Nuclear-free movements in Japan and Australia are rapidly gathering new momentum (Renfrew, 1985).

Figure 6.2 The Fisheries Treaty Area, the Nuclear Free Zone Treaty Area, and the Environment Convention Area.

Source: Based on Cicin-Sain and Knetch (1989), 'The Emergence of a Regional Ocean Regime in the South Pacific' Figure 5.

These declarations and positions vary considerably in respect to port calls and transit of vessels and aircraft bearing nuclear weapons. The 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco prohibits the testing, use, manufacture, production, acquisition, storage, installation, and deployment of nuclear weapons in Latin America extending to the 1150 W longitude in the Pacific Ocean. Within this area, however, the Treaty covers only territorial sea, airspace, and any other space over which the state exercises sovereignty in accordance with its own legislation. But Argentina, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, and Uruguay claim territorial seas out to 200 nmi. And the Treaty itself is a precedent which may be expanded in content and extended within the Pacific region. On the other hand, the United States, the Soviet Union, France, and the United Kingdom signed the Treaty with the proviso that they accepted no limitations on their rights to freedom of the high seas under then-existing international law. And the Treaty does not explicitly prohibit transit of the zone by ships and aircraft carrying nuclear weapons (Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America, 1971; R. W. Smith, 1981 ).

The South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty (SPNFZ) was signed at Rarotonga, Cook Islands, on 6 August 1985 (New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1986). The Treaty entered into force on II December 1986, when Australia became the eighth Pacific nation to ratify the treaty. This Treaty of Rarotonga prohibits the testing, manufacture, acquisition, and stationing of nuclear weapons in the territory of the parties to the Treaty. It also prohibits the dumping of nuclear wastes at sea by parties. While the stationing and other aspects refer to the 'territory' of treaty parties (land and internal waters, territorial sea and arehipelagic waters, and the seabed and subsoil beneath), the nuclear-free zone itself includes the broader 200 nmi zones of the parties and very extensive areas of high seas as well (see Figure 6.I). It explicitly does not infringe on freedom of navigation on overflight and leaves to each Pacific nation the decision on visits and passage through its territory of foreign ships and aircraft bearing nuclear weapons.

The eastern extent of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone reaches to the 1150 W longitude where it joins the western boundary of the Latin American nuclear-free zone (the Treaty of Tlateloco) and extends to the south to the 600 S latitude, adjoining the northern boundary of the Antaretic Treaty area (which also contains a nuclearfree provision). The western boundary of the zone is at 1150 E longitude. A control system is established for the purpose of verifying compliance with the parties' obligations under the Treaty. The control system consists of reports, the exchange of information, consultations, the application of safeguards by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and a complaints procedure.

Three protocols prepared in association with the Treaty require the nuclear powers (United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, China, and France) to commit to abide by the Treaty's provisions in their territories in the region; not to contribute to violations of the Treaty or to threaten the use of nuclear weapons against the parties; and to refrain from testing nuclear devices in the entire nuclear-free zone. To date, only the Soviet Union and China have signed the protocols appropriate to them. The United States has stated that it will not sign the protocols at the present time because the Treaty could undermine its nuclear deterrent capability, disrupt the balance of power in the world, and encourage strategically sensitive areas, such as Western Europe, to create their own nuclear-free zones (US Department of State, 1987). France obviously will not sign, given its strong desire to maintain its nuclear testing programme in French Polynesia. The United Kingdom is presumably following the United States' lead in not signing.

New Zealand and Vanuatu have banned port calls by vessels and aircraft capable of using nuclear weapons; Fiji and Solomon Islands briefly banned such visits and Papua New Guinea and Australia's Labour Party expressed similar intentions until all were persuaded by the United States to reverse these positions (Tanter, 1985). Palau has a nuclear-free constitution which prohibits the use, test, storage or disposal of nuclear weapons within its territorial jurisdiction (Tanter, 1985). The Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Movement-an influential network of social movements in the Pacific island countries-has proposed a Pacific Nuclear Free Zone which would expand the present Forum proposal to include French territories, Micronesia, the Philippines, and Hawaii and ban all port and airfield visits as well as transit of any part of the zone by nuclear weaponcarrying ships and planes and by nuclear-powered vessels (Tanter, 1985). Although the Law of the Sea Convention appears to recognize the right of innocent passage by nuclear-powered ships and ships carrying nuclear substances (United Nations, 1982: Article 23), three states presently require prior notification for nuclear-powered vessels or vessels carrying nuclear matter to enter their territorial sea (Jin, 1986). A state might impose sea lanes on nuclear-powered ships and ships carrying nuclear substances. If a state should require only ships carrying nuclear weapons to use the designated sea lanes, a warship carrying such weapons would disclose this fact by using such a lane. It is also likely that in order to identify in advance ships subject to these restrictions, special notification may be required by the state from ships in the designated categories (Sohn, 1986). Of course, under the 'neither confirm nor deny' principle, such notification requirements and sea lanes would be an incentive to a nuclear power to avoid such waters.

In September 1984, an ASEAN working group agreed in principle to the establishment of a nuclear weapon-free zone for South-East Asia. An ASEAN official indicated that the agreement referred to warship and aircraft visits. Next, the first port call by US vessels to China since the 1949 revolution was delayed due to China's refusal to allow nuclear weapon-bearing US vessels in its ports. The Philippine opposition in its Declaration of Unity has called for a nuclear-free zone of peace in South-East Asia (Honolulu Advertiser, 26 December 1984). The policies would allow transit of ships and aircraft bearing nuclear weapons. Finally, Japan's official government policy-clearly violated and often-is that nuclear weapons cannot and do not enter Japan, including its territorial waters (Nations, 1985).

Increasing superpower belligerence and militarization both globally and in the Pacific, and the US positions in various Law of the Sea matters, have stimulated resentment and the growth of the nuclear-free movement in the Pacific. The exceptions allowing transit of nuclear weapon-bearing vessels and aircraft may only be temporary, at least for the United States. The acceptance of nuclear weapons transit through the region, the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in the region, and the presence of submarines armed with nuclear missiles (SSBNs) and Tomahawk nuclear-capable cruise missiles on over 100 US surface ships subverts the presumed purpose of the nuclear weapon-free zone-the survival of the South Pacific Forum states in the event of war (Tanter, 1986). Awareness of this contradiction between purpose and content of such zones may spread as a (delayed) reaction to militarization of the region.

Meanwhile, the United States maintains that the navigational provisions of the Law of the Sea are now part of customary international law and that it will use force if necessary to assert this view, especially in the face of 'excessive claims'. The United States has already done so in the Libyan-claimed Gulf of Sidra and in Nicaragua's 200-nmi territorial sea. This strategy may work in the short term against an avowed enemy such as Libya or Nicaragua, but will it work with friends or allies like New Zealand, Indonesia, and the Philippines? (Van Dyke, 1985; Washington Post Service, July 1984; Baltimore Sun, 1979; Washington Post, 14 August 1979).

Third World restrictions on transit of US nuclear weapon bearing vessels and aircraft could also come as one response to US unilateralism in navigation matters or even in seabed mining (Valencia, 1985; Honolulu Advertiser, 27 May 1985). Further, it will be at least several years before the Law of the Sea Treaty comes into effect, and in an environment of acrimony coupled with legal uncertainty, sovereignty on nuclear-free zones may creep seawards, perhaps to the edge of the exclusive economic zone. For example, in response to domestic pressure, Australia moved the splash-down zone of a US nuclear-capable cruise missile test to outside its exclusive economic zone (McDonald, 1985).

As the United States has made desperate and crude attempts to blunt the nuclear-free movement, the concept of nuclear-free zones has increased in electoral popularity. There is a growing perception among developing countries that they must do what they can to avoid involvement in nuclear war and that there is potential for using the international legal system to increase the powers of small states. Production, storage, and passage of nuclear weapons have been banned from Japanese territory since 1968 and now more than 300 local Japanese official bodies, including 5 prefectures, have banned nuclear weapons. The long-standing compromise between Japan's anti-nuclear sentiment and the US nuclear strategy may now be tested by the deployment of the nuclear-capable Tomahawk cruise missiles which are visible on deck (Buruma, 1985; C. Smith, 1985). Such visibility may strain the credibility of the Japanese government's position that a US naval vessel is presumed not to be carrying nuclear missiles if Tokyo has not been informed otherwise in advance by the United States in compliance with treaty obligations (Nations, 1985). Other unexpected developments such as Vietnam joining in a South-East Asian nuclear weapon-free zone or a nuclear-free unified Korea would be of tremendous impetus to the nuclear-free movement. The spread of the belief that the nuclear-free movement is a necessary achievement in the continued evolutionary history of humankind may fuel the growth of a deeply rooted, internationally linked social movement for nuclear resistance capable of seizing the popular imagination and forcing governments through the electoral process or otherwise to enact nuclear weapon-free policies. Such scenarios and their implications place marine space and nuclear weapon-free zones high on the US realpolitik agenda for the Pacific.


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