31 July 2014
If good fences make good neighbors, that may explain why much of Asia’s recent territorial tension has centered on the ocean.
India took a step toward tighter ties with Bangladesh this month in surrendering its four-decade claim to a swathe of the Bay of Bengal about the size of Lake Ontario, opting to heed a United Nations-backed ruling. Bangladesh praised its neighbor’s move, with the head of state-run oil monopoly Petrobangla saying the newfound clarity will unlock drilling opportunities.
The decision provides a contrast with China, which declines 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 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
Last updated on 31/07/2014