Maritime Law Enforcement

Missed Opportunities in the Pentagon’s New Maritime Strategy

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The Department of Defense recently released its Asia-Pacific Maritime Security Strategy. Because of rapid security changes in the maritime realm, the document is a welcome declaration, providing much greater clarity on Washington’s strategy in the region. While concentrating on the military elements of US policies and actions in the region, the paper is set in the large context of overall US strategy, and includes frequent references to the complementary actions of the Department of State and the Coast Guard. While not detracting from the strength of the document, there are a number of key areas receiving little-to-no mention, resulting in… Read More »Missed Opportunities in the Pentagon’s New Maritime Strategy

Whither the Honest Broker? Indonesia and the South China Sea

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The incursion on March 19–20, 2016, by two armed China Coast Guard ships into Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), 4.34 kilometers off the Natuna Islands, sparked tensions on a new front in the South China Sea. The incident has again raised the question of where Indonesia stands on the disputes—both as a potential party and as a leader within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The incident began when a patrol boat from the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) seized a 300-metric-ton Chinese fishing boat, the Kway Fey 10078, and arrested its eight crew members for… Read More »Whither the Honest Broker? Indonesia and the South China Sea

Follow the Fish: Considering Options in the South China Sea

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Nearly four months after the landmark UNCLOS arbitration ruling in the case brought by the Philippines against China, President Rodrigo Duterte’s about-face in his approach to the Philippines’ bilateral disputes with China has dominated regional discussion. While this attention is entirely warranted, it has also meant undue neglect of other dimensions of the ruling and its regional effects. All the South China Sea disputes, including the bilateral one between the Philippines and China at the Scarborough Shoal, are importantly about regional fishing rights. President Duterte’s focus on regaining access to the traditional fishing grounds at Scarborough Shoal has highlighted that… Read More »Follow the Fish: Considering Options in the South China Sea

Japan’s Coast Guard and Maritime Self-Defense Force: Cooperation among Siblings

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This MAP Analysis is a preview of the author’s forthcoming article in the January issue of Asia Policy. Coping with “gray zone” situations has in recent years become the core security challenge for Japan. Since September 2012, Beijing has been challenging Japan’s sovereign control of the Senkaku Islands by regularly sending law-enforcement vessels into Japanese territorial waters and contiguous zones. Beijing sends civilian or paramilitary forces to change facts on the ground while daring the targeted country to use force to stop these activities. These incursions, which do not amount to an armed attack, are blurring the line between crime… Read More »Japan’s Coast Guard and Maritime Self-Defense Force: Cooperation among Siblings

Beyond the UUV Incident: Challenges in the South China Sea for the Trump Administration

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The December 2016 incident involving a U.S. unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) was neatly wrapped up on December 20 after China returned the vehicle. Despite diverging legal interpretations, the management of the event reflected the political willingness of both countries to keep the South China Sea dispute under control and in a careful balance so that the situation does not escalate into a military confrontation. However, whether this balancing act might continue in the Trump administration remains to be seen. The debate on the presence of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in the South China Sea might add to this uncertainty.… Read More »Beyond the UUV Incident: Challenges in the South China Sea for the Trump Administration