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The Proliferation Security Initiative: Amending The Convention On The Law Of The Sea By Stealth?

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Chapter Summary

President George Bush launched the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) in May 2003 in response to security concerns arising from the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the potential for terrorists to gain access to such weapons. PSI's principal focus has been on maritime operations, which have generated the most comment regarding its legality. One of the founding principles of the law of the sea is the freedom of navigation. An important issue arising from attempts to reconcile the PSI with the law of the sea is whether what has been taking place is an attempt to amend the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by stealth. Whilst the UNCLOS provides a sound foundation for the legal framework governing the oceans, it contains a number of weaknesses reflective of its 1970s roots and highlighted by contemporary principles of oceans governance.

Keywords: navigational freedoms; Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI); UNCLOS; weapons of mass destruction (WMD)



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