Maritime Boundary and Territorial Issues

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Maritime boundary and territorial Issues Several ASEAN countries are engaged in maritime demarcation disputes with one another. The most important of these involve Thailand’s tense relationship with Myanmar, the Philippines’ dispute with Malaysia over the province of Sabah, the competing claims of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam in the South China Sea, territorial disputes between Malaysia and Indonesia and Malaysia and Thailand, and tension between Singapore and Malaysia. Maritime boundary demarcation has significant influence on ASEAN member states relation. JN Mak in Sovereignty in ASEAN and the Problem of Maritime Cooperation in South China Sea argues that cooperation at sea is highly problematic in contrast to the terrestrial realm where territorial boundaries/ sovereignties have been clearly established. This he said is because ASEAN members engaged in boundary makings. Boundary demarcation and delimitation among ASEAN member state is clear example how fragile the region’s CBM. Lingering tensions and suspicions and unresolved territorial disputes pose a serious impediment to expanded intra- ASEAN defense cooperation that narrow down to naval cooperation. This is one of the main reasons this region has a very fragile CBM which is caused by disparity of national interest among the member countries of ASEAN. Among the many boundary and territorial disputes, three main disputes of concern to Malaysia is the dispute between Malaysia and Indonesia in the Celebes Sea, between Malaysia and Singapore in Pulau Batu Puteh (Pedra Branca) and in the South China Sea. 2.1. Batuan Unarang Based on the provisions given by the ‘Geneva Convention on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone 1958’, supported by the Emergency (... ... middle of paper ... ...SEAN Maritime Forum was introduced to promote CMB; however there is a need for a common agreement to prevent confrontation and incidents in ASEAN maritime domain. Nevertheless, a common agreement can be a daunting long process and unlikely to be achieved in the near future. ASEAN policy of non interferences binds countries to have bilateral agreements rather than multilateral. Besides, ASEAN states are preoccupied with internal security and regional survival that makes Intra-ASEAN defense cooperation difficult, thus a common naval agreement is no exception to the existing challenges. In other word, capability for confidence-building among the ASEAN navies is predicated upon the comfort levels or expectations of each naval service with regard to engaging in prospective shared responsibilities and active co-operation for regional maritime security.

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