Saturday, July 12, 2014

US, Japan, ASEAN and Maritime Security in Southeast Asia

US, Japan, ASEAN and Maritime Security in Southeast Asia
Aileen S.P. Baviera, University of the Philippines

Presented at a Workshop organized by the East-West Center in Washington, Japan Institute of International Affairs, Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation,
12-13 June 2014, ISEAS Singapore


Security challenges in Southeast Asia are diverse, comprising both traditional security (e.g. inter-state territorial disputes and intra-state armed conflicts) and nontraditional security (e.g. pandemics, climate change), state security as well as human security. This paper recognizes this but concentrates on a very important arena where recent developments have sharply aggravated concerns over security – i.e. the maritime security environment.

Maritime security in Southeast Asia itself covers at least four interconnected layers of security challenges, having different set of stakeholders and interests.  These include: (1.) territorial sovereignty disputes over islands and other features in Southeast Asian seas; (2.) disputes over maritime rights and jurisdictions (e.g. access to fish, energy and mineral resources, regulation of other activities at sea) arising from unclear and overlapping boundaries and in part from territorial disputes;  (3.) increasing geopolitical competition among major powers, attendant to perceptions of power shift;  (4.) nontraditional security challenges common to many states (e.g. threats to safety of life at sea, piracy, effects of natural disasters and of climate change)

The complexity of maritime security in Southeast Asia requires various levels and dimensions of cooperation and competition, implying complexity of possible roles of the US, Japan, ASEAN and other actors, separately and collectively, in addressing such challenges.