07 June 2017
As ASEAN marks its 50th anniversary, the South China Sea disputes remain a critical security issue, effectively testing the unity and centrality of the regional organisation. Eager to contain an escalation in the maritime disputes, China and ASEAN recently finalised in May 2017 a draft framework of the Code of Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea.
Despite the collective efforts of ASEAN and China to ease the tensions, the marine environment in the disputed waters continues to be problematic, without an overarching marine environmental regime framework. The international arbitral ruling at The Hague on the South China Sea acknowledged the irreparable destruction of the coral reef ecosystem due to clam-coral poaching, overfishing, land reclamation and illegal fishing activities in the South China Sea. But MEP remains the most ignored aspect of the regional maritime disputes. The issue of MEP can serve as a starting point of constructive dialogue for cooperation among claimant states with ASEAN as the main driver.
… Julius Cesar Trajano is Associate Research Fellow with the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS), at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
NTS Centre / Online
Last updated on 13/06/2017