09 April 2015
ATTENTION from various quarters is currently focused on the possible expansion of counter-piracy sea patrols in South-east Asia. Three basic options have been suggested: an Asean-led maritime force for counter-piracy and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR); observer status for Myanmar in the Malacca Strait Patrols (MSP); and counter-piracy patrols east of Singapore.
In March, Vice-Admiral Robert Thomas, Commander of the US Seventh Fleet, was reported by the media to have mooted the establishment of an “Asean-led maritime force” in the South China Sea.
His remarks at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition were made during a panel discussion on how to address the spread of piracy to the south-western reaches of the South China Sea.
However, international media reports conflated this with earlier comments suggesting that Japan could in future expand its naval and air presence into the South China Sea, and appeared to infer US support for a more expansive patrol concept for South-east Asian navies in the context of maritime territorial disputes with China.
… The writer is a Senior Fellow with the Maritime Security Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, in Singapore.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 23/11/2015