Commentary: A cat-and-mouse game between pirates and Southeast Asian maritime security authorities

SINGAPORE:  “A lion never dies; it sleeps”, says an African proverb. The same can be said for Southeast Asian pirates and sea robbers, long neglected after the academic and diplomatic world chose to refocus on illegal fishing in the South China Sea in recent years given rising tensions in those disputed waters. Advertisement Advertisement Like the phoenix, regional pirates and sea robbers may rise from the ashes. The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre, based in Singapore, rang the…

Chinese Maritime Militia on the Move in Disputed Spratly Islands

Even as the coronavirus crisis sweeps through Asia, China continues to assert its presence in the South China Sea by deploying maritime militia around disputed islands and reefs in the Spratly island chain, according to vessel tracking data and satellite imagery reviewed by Radio Free Asia. A fleet of Chinese ships has been moving this month through the Union Banks, a collection of small land features disputed between China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Among the most significant features in this area are the Chinese-controlled Hughes Reef and Johnson…

Pakistan: The Emergence Of Gwadar As A Maritime Hub – Analysis

In the contemporary dynamics of the regional and global sphere, sea politics is gaining enormous focus due to securitization and economic expansion tenacity. The strategic position of the deep seaport of Gwadar, situated at the heart of the Persian Gulf, and Strait of Hormuz capturing the trade of approximately, 2/3 world’s oil reserves has the potential for becoming an international trading hub and transforming Pakistan’s economic outlook. Gwadar is a vital port for connecting three strategic regions, i.e. South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East in terms of oil…

Maritime Freedom & The Global Commons

“Freedom” – the absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government It has been decades since international relations in the world order dictated true competition for sea control, sea lines of communication, access to world markets, and diplomatic partnerships.  However, it is becoming increasingly alarming that nations such as Iran, China and Russia seek to accumulate/consolidate power and re-define international maritime norms, potentially at the peril of diplomatic, economic, and military bonds that link NATO allies and critical partners. Iran claims control of the Strait of Hormuz and has…

US Navy Warship Challenges China’s ‘Sweeping Maritime Claims’ In South China Sea

KEY POINTS Guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell sailed past the Paracel Islands on March 10China warned the U.S. warship to leave the area and tracked its movementsThis is the second ‘freedom of navigation’ operation by the U.S. Navy this year The United States guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell has completed what it calls a “freedom of navigation” operation in the South China Sea, sailing past the Paracel Islands on March 10. Beijing, to no one’s surprise, is voicing its objections to the passage. An online report by msn.com on March 11 documented…

Resolving disputed maritime borders vital for regional peace in Eastern Mediterranean

On Nov. 27, 2019, Turkey signed a maritime border agreement with Libya’s internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) for the delimitation of their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs), seeking to create a maritime corridor between the two countries, and creating an avenue for Turkey and Libya to conduct joint natural gas exploration and drilling operations in the Eastern Mediterranean. According to the agreement, both countries have decided on a precise and equitable delimitation of their respective maritime areas in the Mediterranean in which the parties exercise sovereign rights and jurisdiction in…

Is Vietnam Sending Its Maritime Militia to China’s Coast? – The Diplomat

Advertisement The South China Sea Probing Initiative (SCSPI) a project of the Peking University Institute of Ocean Research, recently released Automatic Identification System (AIS) data showing more than 300 Vietnamese fishing boats gathering in the near seas of China’s Guangdong, Guangxi, and Hainan provinces in February — while China is busy fighting the coronavirus. Illegal fishing from Vietnam is a long-standing problem. Even with a nearly 3,500 kilometer coastline, fish stocks in Vietnam’s near sea are depleting, and its fishermen have been trying to venture farther away to catch fish…

The ADMM-Plus And Maritime Security In South China Sea: Constraints In Establishing A Maritime Security Regime – Analysis

Introduction The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) through the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) have taken steps to establish a maritime security regime that may govern interactions and avoid contingencies and operational miscalculations in the South China Sea (SCS). Interestingly, the ADMM initiatives have yet to be adopted by ASEAN’s more encompassing defense cooperation platform—the ADMM-Plus. In this regard, this article will discuss the structural, institutional, and geostrategic factors that might have constrained the ADMM-Plus in adopting such initiatives.   ADMM-Plus and Establishing a Maritime Security Regime As part…

The tiny island that’s key to China’s maritime ambitions

NEW YORK – Nobody would ever call Thitu Island a Pacific Ocean paradise. The second-largest of the chain of reefs, shoals and atolls in South China Sea known as the Spratly Islands, Thitu is a sunbaked 37-hectare rock, dotted with scruffy trees and long-abandoned military bunkers, eking out existence just a few feet above high tide. Yet obscure Thitu — known as Pag-asa (“Hope Island”) in the Tagalog language of the Filipinos who inhabit it — has become an object of desire in the increasingly contentious geopolitical dispute involving the…

Parliament: SAF to restructure to deal with cyber, terrorism, maritime threats, Politics News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – A high-level committee will be formed to build an integrated cyber force to defend Singapore against cyber threats, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Monday (March 2). This committee – led by the permanent secretary for defence development and the Chief of Defence Force (CDF) – will be examining ways to “recruit soldiers of the right aptitude, their training and deployments”, he added. Said Dr Ng: “In the SAF’s history, this is as important as raising another service, just like the army, navy and air force, namely…