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Home TT dữ liệu Biển Đông JN Mak, SOVEREIGNTY IN ASEAN AND THE PROBLEM OF MARITIME COOPERATION IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA
Details for JN Mak, SOVEREIGNTY IN ASEAN AND THE PROBLEM OF MARITIME COOPERATION IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA
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NameJN Mak, SOVEREIGNTY IN ASEAN AND THE PROBLEM OF MARITIME COOPERATION IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA
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The S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS)

What makes the maritime realm so different from the terrestrial realm is that the issue of sovereignty is still highly contested. Hand in hand with the contestation, ASEAN members are also involved in a ‘conflict process’ that involves militarizing conflicting claims in the South China Sea. This process includes overt deployments of military units, confrontation between navies in contested zones, and the implicit use of threats. Contructivists will argue that the fact that this ‘conflict process’ has not broken out into open warfare shows that the ASEAN way and the TAC norms are alive and well. However, the fact remains that military confrontations are still taking place at sea, in contrast to attempts to resolve issues cooperatively and peacefully on land. Because of this threat potential, Malaysia is attempting to put in place a comprehensive suite of INCSEA agreements with all its maritime neighbours. The implication of the conflict-process taking place at sea in the ASEAN region is that attempts to establish cooperation at sea, even functional cooperation that puts aside sovereignty issues, will very likely fail. As the JMSU case illustrates, agreements on functional cooperation can be seen as weakening a state’s sovereignty claims. Although national leaders can agree to functional cooperation, critics in the more democratic ASEAN member states can criticise any agreement as a ‘sell-out.’ More than that, countries that are already exploiting proven reserves of oil and gas in contested maritime zones will be unlikely to consider functional cooperation. After all, why should they share their proven and ‘sovereign’ resources for the sake of promoting multilateral cooperation in the South China Sea region or other disputed maritime zones?

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Created On: 01/15/2010 14:52
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