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115th Congress     }                               {       Exec. Rept.
                                 SENATE
 2d Session        }                               {            115-3

======================================================================



 
 TREATY BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE 
GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KIRIBATI ON THE DELIMITATION OF MARITIME 
           BOUNDARIES, SIGNED AT MAJURO ON SEPTEMBER 6, 2013

                                _______
                                

                  May 15, 2018.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

          Mr. Corker, from the Committee on Foreign Relations,
                        submitted the following

                                 REPORT

                   [To accompany Treaty Doc. 114-13B]

    The Committee on Foreign Relations, to which was referred 
the Treaty Between the Government of the United States of 
America and the Government of the Republic of Kiribati on the 
Delimitation of Maritime Boundaries, signed at Majuro on 
September 6, 2013 (Treaty Doc. 114-13B), having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon with one declaration, as 
indicated in the resolution of advice and consent, and 
recommends that the Senate give its advice and consent to 
ratification thereof, as set forth in this report and the 
accompanying resolution of advice and consent.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page

  I. Purpose..........................................................1
 II. Background.......................................................2
III. Implementing Legislation.........................................3
 IV. Committee Action.................................................4
  V. Committee Recommendation and Comments............................4
 VI. Text of Resolution of Advice and Consent to Ratification.........4

                               I. Purpose

    According to the President's Letter of Transmittal, the 
purpose of the Treaty Between the Government of the United 
States of America and the Government of the Republic of 
Kiribati on the Delimitation of Maritime Boundaries, signed at 
Majuro on September 6, 2013, (hereinafter, the ``Kiribati 
Maritime Boundary Treaty'' ) is to establish the United States 
maritime boundary in the South Pacific Ocean with the 
neighboring country of the Republic of Kiribati. The Treaty 
establishes three maritime boundaries totaling approximately 
1,260 nautical miles in length between Kiribati and the United 
States islands of Palmyra Atoll, Kingman Reef, Jarvis Island, 
and Baker Island.

                             II. Background

    The committee notes that a more detailed article-by-article 
analysis of this Treaty may be found in the Letter of Submittal 
from the Secretary of State to the President dated October 28, 
2016, reprinted in Treaty Document 114-13B. What follows is a 
brief summary of the key provisions of the Treaty as provided 
in Treaty Document 114-13B:
    The Kiribati Maritime Boundary Treaty establishes three 
maritime boundaries in the Pacific Ocean with respect to the 
exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf generated 
by various Kiribati islands and by each of the U.S. islands of 
Palmyra Atoll, Kingman Reef, Jarvis Island, and Baker Island.
    Consistent with similar maritime boundary treaties between 
the United States and other countries, this Treaty defines the 
limits within which each Party may exercise EEZ and continental 
shelf jurisdiction off the coasts of their respective islands. 
The three boundaries with Kiribati, taken together, are 
approximately 1,260 nautical miles in length.
    The boundary lines are established on the basis of 
equidistance. As the Acting Legal Adviser of the State 
Department testified to the committee, the method of 
equidistance is a long-standing approach consistent with 
international law and practice with respect to delimiting 
boundaries. In fact, Congress has used the equidistance method 
as far back as 1805 with respect to a law concerning the 
establishment of boundaries of public lands.\1\ Under the 
equidistance method, every point on an equidistance line is 
equal in distance from the nearest point on the coastline of 
each Party.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\An Act Concerning the Mode of Surveying the Public Lands of the 
United States, 2 Stat. 313 (1805); see also Texas v. Louisiana, 426 
U.S. 465, 468-70 (1976) (citing the Convention on the Territorial Sea 
and the Contigious Zone, Sep. 15, 1958, 15 U.S.T. 1606, and relying on 
the equidistance method in defining the lateral seaward boundary 
between Texas and Louisiana).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    With appropriate technical adjustments, the Treaty 
formalizes boundaries that have been informally adhered to by 
the Parties, and that are very similar to the existing limit 
lines of the EEZ asserted by the United States for decades and 
published in the Federal Register.
    The administration has informed the committee that, because 
of improved calculation methodologies and minor coastline 
changes, the new maritime boundaries in this Treaty will result 
in a small net gain of United States EEZ and continental shelf 
area relative to the existing limit lines of our EEZ. The form 
and content of the Treaty is very similar to previous maritime 
boundary treaties between the United States and other Pacific 
island countries that have entered into force after receiving 
the Senate's advice and consent. The Treaty consists of seven 
articles.
    Article I states that the purpose of the Treaty is to 
establish the maritime boundaries between the two countries. 
The Treaty identifies the relevant United States territory as 
Palmyra Atoll, Kingman Reef, Jarvis Island, and Baker Island.
    Article II of the Treaty sets out its technical parameters, 
stating that, for the purpose of the Treaty the North American 
Datum 1983 and the World Geodetic Datum 1984 (``WGS 84'') are 
considered identical. Further, the article states that, for the 
purpose of illustration only, the boundary lines have been 
drawn on maps annexed to the Treaty.
    Article III lists the turning and terminal points of 
defining the maritime boundaries. This article defines three 
distinct boundary lines: for the boundary line between the 
United States Baker Island and the Kiribati Phoenix Islands 
group, six points are connected by geodesic lines that measure 
332 nautical miles in total; for the boundary line between the 
United States Jarvis Island and the Kiribati Line Islands 
group, ten points are connected by geodesic lines that measure 
548 nautical miles in total; and for the boundary line between 
the U.S. islands of Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef and the 
Kiribati Line Islands group, five points are connected by 
geodesic lines that measure 383 nautical miles in total.
    Article IV sets forth the agreement of the Parties that, on 
the opposite side of each maritime boundary, each Party shall 
not ``claim or exercise for any purpose sovereignty, sovereign 
rights, or jurisdiction with respect to the waters or seabed or 
subsoil.''
    Article V provides that the establishment of the boundaries 
shall not affect or prejudice either side's position ``with 
respect to the rules of international law relating to the law 
of the sea, including those concerned with the exercise of 
sovereignty, sovereign rights, or jurisdiction with respect to 
the waters or seabed or subsoil.''
    Article VI sets forth the agreement of the Parties that any 
dispute arising from the interpretation or application of the 
Treaty shall be resolved by negotiation or other peaceful means 
agreed upon by the Parties.
    Article VII provides that the Treaty shall enter into force 
after the Parties have exchanged notes indicating that each has 
completed its internal procedures to bring the Treaty into 
force.
    The Acting Legal Adviser of the State Department testified 
to the committee, with respect to the Kiribati Maritime 
Boundary Treaty and the Treaty Between the Government of the 
United States of America and the Government of the Federated 
States of Micronesia on the Delimitation of a Maritime 
Boundary, that:


        The treaties do not limit how we may choose to manage, 
        conserve, explore, or develop the U.S. EEZ and 
        continental shelf consistent with international law; 
        they merely clarify the geographic scope of our 
        sovereign rights and jurisdiction consistent with 
        international law and with longstanding unilateral U.S. 
        practice, and they reinforce other countries' 
        recognition of the U.S. EEZ and continental shelf 
        entitlements around the U.S. islands in question.

                     III. Implementing Legislation

    The executive branch has indicated that the United States 
does not need implementing legislation to implement the 
Treaty.\2\ Accordingly, no new legislation is necessary or is 
being sought in conjunction with the Treaty. The Resolution of 
Advice and Consent to Ratification includes a declaration 
stating that the Treaty is self-executing.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Treaty Doc. 114-13B at VI, Letter from John F. Kerry, Secretary 
of State, to the President, Oct. 28, 2016.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          IV. Committee Action

    The committee held a hearing to consider the Treaty on 
December 13, 2017. The hearing was chaired by Senator Risch. 
The committee considered the Treaty on March 20, 2018, and 
ordered the Treaty favorably reported by voice vote, with a 
quorum present and without objection, with the recommendation 
that the Senate give advice and consent to its ratification, as 
set forth in this report and the accompanying resolution of 
advice and consent to ratification.

                V. Committee Recommendation and Comments

    The Committee on Foreign Relations believes that 
ratification of the Kiribati Maritime Boundary Treaty will 
further the national interests of the United States and 
recommends the Senate give its consent to ratification of this 
Treaty. Ratification will strengthen our ties and cooperation 
with the Republic of Kiribati. Further, ratification will 
delimit our boundaries with the Republic of Kiribati in a 
manner that closely follows limit lines long asserted by the 
United States for our exclusive economic zone. The committee 
notes the assertions of the executive branch that the United 
States will achieve a small gain in maritime area with 
ratification of the Treaty.
    The committee has included in its resolution of advice and 
consent one proposed declaration, which states that the 
Kiribati Maritime Boundary Treaty is self-executing. This 
declaration is consistent with the view of the executive 
branch. Historically, the Senate has not routinely included 
statements regarding the self-executing nature of treaties in 
resolutions of advice and consent, but in light of the Supreme 
Court decision, Medellin v. Texas, 552 U.S. 491 (2008), the 
committee has determined that a clear statement in the 
resolution is warranted. A further discussion of the 
committee's views on this matter can be found in Section VIII 
of Executive Report 110-12.

          VI. Resolution of Advice and Consent to Ratification

    Resolved, (two-thirds of the Senators present concurring 
therein),

SECTION 1. SENATE ADVICE AND CONSENT SUBJECT TO A DECLARATION.

    The Senate advises and consents to the ratification of the 
Treaty between the Government of the United States of America 
and the Government of the Republic of Kiribati on the 
Delimitation of Maritime Boundaries, signed at Majuro on 
September 6, 2013 (the ``Treaty'') (Treaty Doc 114-13B), 
subject to the declaration in section 2.

SEC. 2. DECLARATION.

    The Senate's advice and consent under section 1 is subject 
to the following declaration: The Treaty is self-executing.

                                  [all]