01 August 2014
If good fences make good neighbours, that may explain why much of Asia’s recent territorial tension has centred on the ocean.
India last month took a step towards tighter ties with Bangladesh in surrendering its four-decade claim to a swathe of the Bay of Bengal about 26 times the size of Singapore, opting to heed aUnited Nations-backed ruling. Bangladesh praised its neighbour’s move, with the head of state-run oil monopoly Petrobangla saying the newfound clarity will unlock drilling opportunities.
The decision provides a contrast to China, which has declined to acknowledge any UN jurisdiction in its dispute with the Philippines over maritime claims. The difference in approach shows why tensions are rising in the South China Sea as companies ramp up oil and gas investment in the Bay of Bengal.
… “If you’re a big power and know you’re more powerful, you don’t want to be constrained by international law,” said Dr Li Mingjiang, associate professor and coordinator of the China programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. “You want to use political and other means to resolve the dispute.”
IDSS / RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 01/08/2014