Why is Southeast Asia called Maritime Asia

Maritime Security in East and Southeast Asia

Chapter 1. Introduction

Since 2011, rising tensions in the East and South China Seas have been garnering diplomatic and media attention in and outside the region. East Asian maritime borders, whether fixed during colonial eras or the Cold War, have never been immutable. Yet with the rival claimant countries rapidly improving their naval and coast guard capabilities and with surging nationalism in their domestic politics, there are increasing discussions about the risk that maritime disputes will lead to military clashes in the Asian waters. Theories and suppositions also abound from geo-political analysts and netizens on the strategic intentions of the contending countries involved and the restructuring of their intra- and extra-regional alliances.
Xin Chen, Nicholas Tarling

Chapter 2. Maritime Security and Piracy

The application of the word “piracy” has over time been extended to a wide range of activities well beyond the implication that it is robbery at sea. Even within that ambit, old ambiguities remain, or new ones appear, and endeavors to repress or suppress it reflect changing circumstances. In the “imperial” phrase it was seen as part of an endeavor to “order” the non-European world. In a world of independent states theoretically equal in sovereignty, it is more a matter of cooperation. But, as the example of Southeast Asia suggests, states newly emerged from colonialism do not find that easy to achieve.

Chapter 3. The Straits of Malacca: Malaysia’s Threat Perception and Strategy for Maritime Security

Malaysia’s threat perception towards the Straits of Malacca is very much in line with those of other key players in the region. Yet managing security in the Straits remains a complex matter for it and the other two littoral states bordering it, Indonesia and Singapore. Malaysia is fully aware of its share of the interdependent responsibility to secure the Straits, ensure its navigational safety and maintain its environmental well-being. To meet the demand and help uphold the confidence of users of the Straits, Malaysia has adopted a coordinated approach domestically to security management and participated in collaborative security initiatives at multiple levels within and without the region. This study examines how Malaysia, in the process, adapts to the constant challenge of striking a balance between the Straits as territorial waters and as an international waterway, between its national strategic concerns and other players' interests and calculations, and between technical and financial needs for regional and international cooperation on security in the Straits and its apprehension over the potential of "internationalization" of the Straits.
K. S. Balakrishnan, Helena Varkkey

Chapter 4. Securitizing Piracy and Maritime Terrorism along the Malacca and Singapore Straits: Singapore and the Importance of Facilitating Factors

Many commentators have noted how difficult it has been to encourage deeper forms of cooperation between Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore inter se, as well as with other nations, particularly when their respective state sovereignty appears to be threatened. This study will therefore attempt to examine Singapore’s efforts to create a political climate that was more conducive for substantive joint endeavors through its policy of securitizing piracy and maritime terrorism along the Malacca and Singapore Straits. Given the security dimensions involved in this discourse, the approach taken by the Copenhagen School of Security Studies is selected as an analytical tool in which to better interrogate these processes, and in particular, the role that facilitating factors play in expediting or obstructing the securitizing of existential threats.

Chapter 5. The Challenges of Maritime Security Cooperation in the Straits of Malacca: Another Singapore Perspective

This chapter investigates Singapore’s perception of maritime security, and analyzes the challenges and remedies in maritime security cooperation in Asia. It argues that the paradigm shifts in the littoral states on anti-piracy policies, in the aftermath of “9.11”, contribute to the enhancement of incentives and capabilities of anti-piracy operations. After several years ’efforts, piracy and armed robbery against ships declined significantly in Southeast Asia.

Chapter 6. The Seas of Our Insecurity: Ordinary versus State Discourses on Maritime and Human Security in the Philippines

The dominant discourse on maritime security in the Philippines is one that projects threats in the form of armed invasion of its territorial waters, of pirates threatening the safety of its sea-lanes, and more recently, of armed terrorists attacking its resorts and bombing its sailing vessels. On the other hand, the discourse of ordinary peoples living near the oceans, and whose livelihoods depend on them, is one that considers threats in the form of reduced economic opportunities brought upon them by natural and human-made forces beyond their control. It is these somewhat conflicting conceptualizations of maritime security that this chapter inquires into, and tries to reconcile as it imagines a maritime security discourse that is shaped according to the tenets of human security and that is authentic to the Philippine context.

Chapter 7. Japan’s Maritime Security: Continuity and Post-Cold War Evolution

Japan’s maritime security interests have been diverse yet constant since World War Two. The sea has served as an important source of its food supply, and key sea-lanes remain a lifeline for its economic prosperity and power. To assure its fair share and a sustainable use of maritime resources, Japan takes an active part in the international politics of resource management through legal, political, and more recently security approaches. Likewise, concerns about continued traditional maritime threats in East Asia and increasing non-state criminal offenses at sea have seen Japan slowly moving away from its “self-defense” orientation, assuming greater responsibility for allied security, and expanding its regional security partnerships. This paper examines Japan’s maritime strategies during and after the Cold War, in particular its efforts to build layers of multilateral security mechanisms for its manifold interests and concerns amidst the changing power configuration in East Asia.

Chapter 8. Charting Thailand’s Maritime Security Policies from 1932 to 2012: A Liberal International Relations Perspective

Developing a deeper understanding of Thailand’s maritime security policies necessitates an analytical exploration that will go beyond the conventional. While governmental budgetary, geopolitical and internal security factors will certainly feature heavily in this chapter, we would contend that the dynamics involved in this matter are likewise significantly influenced by other, somewhat latent factors — in particular, the strong domestic undercurrents involving the Thai Armed Forces —That may not be apparent at first glance. Thus, the ensuing analysis, through the use of a liberal international relations lens, will attempt to show that the ebb and flow of Thailand’s maritime security policies are actually intimately linked to the role, challenges and ultimately, the destiny of the Royal Thai Navy. The latter’s existential fight to remain relevant vis-à-vis the Royal Thai Army’s dominance of Thai politics is ultimately played out in the maritime security policies of the nation.
Mark David Chong, Surin Corn ricrod

Chapter 9. Sea Power and Maritime Disputes: China’s Internal Discourses

China's ever increasing presence in the world economy has seen its frame of reference for assessing threats undergo a “color shift” from focusing on the “yellow” (continental) land and “brown” (coastal) waters to emphasizing the “blue” (high ) seas. Meanwhile, its armed forces, in particular its navy, have embarked on a comprehensive long-term strategy to upgrade their capabilities both quantitatively and qualitatively. China's maritime security precautions, “routine” or otherwise, have made many in the region and the world anxiously speculate about the extent to which it may use military measures to secure a free transit of its seaborne commerce and access to maritime resources in Asia's disputed waters , and to deny sea control to extra-regional powers. Yet as the Chinese are still wrestling among themselves with the definition of “rise”, “peace”, “security” and “threat”, they have not been able to come up with a convincing explanation for how China's military build-up is in keeping with its “peaceful” aspiration. As a result, China and its official policies are not yet able to escape the dilemma of “threat to China” and “China threat” in addressing its maritime security concerns in Asia and beyond.

Backmatter