Growing Prospects for Maritime Security Cooperation in Southeast Asia   [open pdf - 184KB]

"The sea dominates Southeast Asia, covering roughly 80 percent of its area. The region's islands and peninsulas, wedged between the Pacific and Indian oceans, border major arteries of communication and commerce. Thus the economic and political affairs of Southeast Asia have been dominated by the sea. In the premodern period, ports such as Svirijaya and Malacca established empires based upon sea power in area waters. In succeeding centuries European warships and their heavy guns were the keys to colonization. Today more than half of the world's annual merchant tonnage traverses Southeast Asian waters; its oceans and seas yield vast revenues in such industries as fishing, hydrocarbon extraction, and tourism. In fact, more than 60 percent of Southeast Asians today live in or rely economically on the maritime zones. However, the sea is also the source of a variety of dangers that not only menace the prosperity of local populations but directly threaten the security of states. Those dangers include territorial disputes, nonstate political violence, transnational crime, and environmental degradation. Maritime security, accordingly, is at the forefront of Southeast Asian political concerns. Successful response to maritime security threats requires international cooperation, because those threats are primarily transnational. As Singapore's deputy prime minister has eloquently explained, 'individual state action is not enough. The oceans are indivisible and maritime security threats do not respect boundaries.'"

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Naval War College Review (Summer 2005), v.58 no.3, p.63-86
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