Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says ratifying the United Nations Law of the Sea treaty will strengthen America's strategic position in Asia as countries battle over claims for territory, resources and passage in the Pacific.
The U.S. is only major nation that has refused to sign the treaty, which has been endorsed by 161 nations and the European Union.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is dismissing arguments from some U.S. leaders, including previous administrations, who claimed the treaty would restrict military operations or limit intelligence collection in territorial waters.
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