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TheRiseofChinaandMaritimeSecurityinSoutheastAsia
2011 11

CarlyleA.Thayer*
23 11 2012 2 8

Introduction Chinas rise and growing assertiveness in the South China Sea has placed maritime issuesatthetopoftheregionalsecurityagenda.Thisessayexplorestheimplicationsof Chinas rise in seven parts. Part one considers the changing perceptions of Southeast Asian states regarding Chinas rise. Part two discusses the growth of Chinese naval power. Part three focuses on Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea in 2011, whilepartfourreviewsregionalresponsestoChineseassertiveness.Partsfiveandsix, respectively, analyse the new U.S. national military strategy and ASEAN and ASEAN centricregionalsecurityarchitecture.ThepaperconcludesthatSoutheastAsiaisripe for rivalry due to intractable sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea, rising resourcenationalismandnavalforcemodernizationprogramsnowunderway. SoutheastAsiaandChinasRise Regional autonomy. After the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formedin1967itsmembersadoptedtwomajorapproachestorelationswithexternal powers. First, ASEAN member states promoted the concept of regional autonomy to prevent any one power from exercising hegemony over Southeast Asia. ASEANs assertionofregionalautonomytooktwofirms.Itinvolvedtheexpansionofmembership fromitsinitialcoreoffivetotenofSoutheastAsiaselevenstates.1ASEANsassertionof regional autonomy also took the form of political declarations and treaties covering Southeast Asia as a whole such as the Declaration of a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality(1971),theASEANTreatyofAmityandCooperation(1976)andtheSoutheast AsiaNuclearWeaponsFreeZoneTreaty(1995).InrecentyearsASEANhasadvancedthe concept of regional autonomy by ratifying the ASEAN Charter and setting the goal of creating an ASEAN Community by 2015. ASEANs second approach in relations with externalpowershasbeentoassertitscentralityintheregionssecurityarchitecture.For example, when the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) was established in 1994 ASEAN insistedthatitbeinthedriversseatasthesolechair.

Emeritus Professor, The University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Canberra.Email:c.thayer@adfa.edu.au. TimorLesteisnotyetamember

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Southeast Asian states seek to advance their national interests through bilateral relationswitheachotherandwiththemajorexternalpowers.Atthesametime,ASEAN statesseektopromotetheirnationalinterestsmultilaterallythroughASEAN. Chinas economic rise. Chinas economic rise was initially viewed by Southeast Asian states as a challenge because of fears that it would lead to a diversion of trade and investment from Southeast Asia. ASEAN states also feared being pulled into Chinas orbit in a dependent relationship as supplier of raw materials. Another source of concern was the impact Chias rise would have on U.S. economic ties to the region. ManySoutheastAsianstatesrelyonaccesstotheU.S.marketfortheirwellbeing.They heldconcernsthattheU.S.wouldadoptprotectionistpoliciesattheirexpense. AmajorturningpointinperceptionstowardsChinaoccurredduringtheAsianFinancial Crisis of 199798 when Chinas supportive policies were contrasted with those of the International Monetary Fund (supported by the United States) that imposed conditionalityonitsloans.Chinanotonlyrefrainedfromdevaluingitscurrencybutalso contributed to regional bail out packages. Southeast Asian states now came to view Chinasriseasanopportunityandthemainengineofregionalgrowth.Inrecentyears fearsofaU.S.retreatbehindprotectionistwallshasbeenallayedbyU.S.promotionof TradeandInvestmentFrameworkAgreementsandtheTransPacificPartnership. In sum, by the late 1990s China was perceived to be Southeast Asias indispensable but not only economic partner. For example, China and ASEAN entered into a Free Trade Agreement that came into force in January 2010 for ASEANs six developed economiesandwillcomeintoeffectforASEANsfourleastdevelopedmembersin2015. Chinasmilitarymodernization.Intheearly1990sChinawasviewedasamilitarythreat totheregionduetoitsassertivesovereigntyintheSouthChinaSea.In1992and1995, while not naming China, ASEAN issued two declarations of concern urging states to refrain from force or the threat of force in resolving their territorial disputes. In 1997 Chinabegantopromoteitnewsecurityconcept.Andin2002,ChinaandASEANsigneda Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. As a result of these developmentstheChinathreatreceded. Chinas economic power has provided the foundation for the modernization and transformationofitsarmedforces.Inmanyrespectsthisisanormaldevelopment.For example, Chinas increased reliance on maritime trade routes to export goods and to import natural resources has resulted in a need to protect these sea lines of communication(SLOCs).Chinasmilitarymodernizationisalsodirectedatreunification with Taiwan and preventing it from declaring independence. After the Taiwan Straits crisis of 199596, when Chinese attempts to intimidate Taiwan resulted in U.S. naval intervention, China has sought to develop what the Pentagon terms antiaccess/area denialcapabilitiestokeepU.S.aircraftcarriertaskforcesatbayintheWesternPacific. InFebruary2012itwasreportedthatChinawoulddoubledefenceexpenditureswithin threeyearsfromU.S.$119.8billionin2011toU.S.$238.2billionby2015.Thiswould

mean that Chinas defence budget will be larger that the combined total of the next twelve biggest defence budgets in the AsiaPacific (and three times larger that Japan projected2015defencebudget).2 ChinasincreasedmilitaryprowessalsohasimplicationsfortheSouthChinaSeawhere Vietnam,thePhilippines,MalaysiaandBruneihaveconflictingterritorialandmaritime disputes with China. Chinas increasing assertiveness has raised regional security concerns about Chinas strategic intentions and its challenge to U.S. primacy. Several Southeast Asian states have sought reassurance from the United States that it will continue to remain engaged in the region. The United States has responded to these concernsbydeclaringithasanationalinterestinthefreedomandsafetyofnavigation andoverflightinthemaritimecommonsndunimpededcommerce. ASEANandthegreatpowers.ThemajorchallengetoSoutheastAsiasstrategicinterests is the potential for great power rivalry to undermine ASEAN centrality and regional autonomy.MajorpowerrivalrycouldspilloverandaffectASEANcohesionasindividual members calculate whether alignment with a major external power is a better guaranteeoftheirnationalsecuritythanASEANmultilateralism.ASEANstatesprefera balance among the major powers and do no want to become involved in a dispute betweenthemorbeforcedtochoosesides. Insum,SoutheastAsianstateshaverespondedtoChinasrisebyseekingtoenmeshitin ASEANcentric multilateral institutions. ASEAN seeks tomitigate rivalrybetweenChina and the United States through strategies that promote economic interdependence, commitmenttoASEANnorms,andsoftbalancing.

TodayOnline(Singapore),15February2012.

GrowthofChinesenavalpower

Chinas military transformation is the product of several factors. First, Chinas spectacular economic rise has provided the basis for increased defence spending that hasledinturntothemodernizationofallmilitaryservices.Second,Chinaisfixatedon Taiwan and national reunification and therefore seeks to forestall intervention by the UnitedStatesinTaiwancontingenciesbyextendingitsnavalreachbeyondthefirstto the second island chain.3Third, Chinas rise has raised the salience of protecting its majorSLOCsfromtheGulfofArabiatoitseasternseaboard.Fourth,Chineseresource nationalism has raised the importance of the South China Sea with respect to oil, gas andmineralresourcesandsovereigntyclaims.Fifth,asChinabecomesaglobalpower withwidespreadeconomicand politicalinterests,it willneedtodevelopabluewater navytoprotectitsinterestsmuchfurtherafield. Several of the factors promoting Chinas military buildup intersect with respect to Southeast Asias maritime domain and the South China Sea in particular. This is most evident in the modernization of the South Sea Fleet and the construction of a major naval base at Yalong Bay on the southern coast of Hainan Island on the northern reachesoftheSouthChinaSea. ThefacilitiesatYalongBayincludepiers,docksandundergroundsubmarinepens.The Peoples Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) stations several major surface combatants, amphibious landing craft, conventional and nuclear submarines at Yalong. Continued construction indicates that Yalong will be able to accommodate larger surface combatants such as assault ships and eventually one or more aircraft carriers. The SouthSeaFleethastheimportantmissionofsecuringtheStraitofQiongzhoutoprotect southernChinaandHainanIsland.ThedevelopmentofanavalbaseatYalongmaybe seenasdefensiveinmotivation. Chinaregularlyconductsmajornavalexercisestoshowcasethegrowingprowessofthe PLAN.In2010Chinaconductedthreemajornavalexercisesandonemajorexercisethe followingyearrelatedtotheSouthChinaSea.ThefirstexercisewasheldinearlyApril 2010andinvolvedthelongrangedeploymentofsixteenwarshipsfromthePLANdrawn fromtheNorthSea,EastSeaandSouthSeaFleets.ThePLANflotillaconductedlivefiring exercisesnorthofthePhilippinesbeforesteamingtowardtheMalaccaStraits.Upuntil this exercise Chinas South Sea Fleet was the only fleet to operate in the South China Sea. ThesecondnavalexercisewasconductedinlateJuly2010.Itwasthelargestofitskind and involved twelve of Chinas most modern warships from each of its fleets. This exercise was notable for the Chinese media coverage of live missile firings and the
3

The first island chain refers to the line of islands that runs northsouth from the Kuriles, Japan, the Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Indonesia. The second island chain extends further east of Chinas coast and includes a line running northsouth from the Kuriles through Japan, the Bonins, the Marianas,theCarolines,andIndonesia.

presenceofseniorcommandersfromtheCentralMilitaryCommissionandthePLAChief ofStaff,GeneralChenBingde.4InNovember2010thePLAMarineCorpsheldthethird major exercise in the South China Sea involving more than 100 ships, submarines and aircraftand1,800marines.InNovember2011,Chinaconductednavalexercisesinthe WesternPacific.5 These four PLAN exercises can be viewed as a demonstration by China that it is now capable ofdeploying beyond the first island chain to the second. The implications are clear:ChinaisdevelopingthecapacitytosustainlargernavaldeploymentsintheSpratly archipelagoandfurthersouthforlongerperiods. Satellite imagery has confirmed the presence of a single Chinese Type 094 Jinclass nuclear submarine at Yalong since late 2007. The Type094 is a secondgeneration nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine(SSBN) and represents Chinas most lethal navalstrikeweapon.ThismarksthefirstpermanentdeploymentonanSSBNtoChinas SouthSeaFleet.FivemoreChineseJinclassSSBNsareexpectedtobecomeoperational incomingyearsandYalongBayisexpectedtobecometheirhomebase. ThedevelopmentofanavalbaseinYalongBayhasstrategicimplicationsforthebalance of power in the AsiaPacific. Analysis of construction activities indicates Yalong will be capable of housing nuclear submarines capable of launching intercontinental ballistic missiles. Portions of the base are being built underground to provide facilities that cannotbeeasilymonitored.WhenthesefacilitiesarecompletedtheywillprovideChina withthepotentialcapabilitytostationasubstantialproportionofitssubmarinebased nucleardeterrentcapabilitiesthere. Chinasmostmodernstrategicnuclearsubmarineisnotyetfullyoperationalbutwhenit isthesubmarineisexpectedtocarrytwelveSeaLaunchedBallisticMissiles.Thisclassof submarine will be even more potent if China succeeds in equipping the missiles with multiplewarheads.Chinesenuclearsubswillbeabletopatrolandfirefromconcealed positions in deep waters off Hainan island if China can develop the necessary operationalskills.Atthesametime,ChinahasextendedtheairfieldonWoodyIslandin the Paracel islands, consolidated its facilities at Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly archipelago, and maintains a continuing naval presence at Mischief Reef off the west coastofthePhilippines. In sum, China has developed an enhanced capability to exercise its sovereignty claims overtheSouthChinaSeaandprotectitsvitalSLOCsthroughtheMalaccaandSingapore Straits as well as the capacity to surge expeditionary forces into the South China Sea from these bases with a considerably shortened logistics tail. By extension, China will alsohavethecapacityto interdictthe sameSLOCsonwhichJapan,TaiwanandSouth
4 5

Xinhua,29July2010. TheEconomicTimes,23November2011.

Koreaaredependent.ThesedevelopmentsportendagreaterChinesecapacitytoassert regionalinfluenceandtochallengeU.S.navalsupremacy. The deployment of nuclear submarines, including ballistic missile submarines, has introduced a new geostrategic dimension to the regional balance of power. Chinese nuclearsubmarinedeploymentswillattractthecontinuingattentionoftheU.S.Navyin conducting military survey/intelligence gathering in the waters off Hainan. New developmentsinU.S.militarytechnologywillseetheintroductionofmoresophisticated underseadronesandunmannedsystemsforintelligencegathering,reconnaissanceand surveillance such as Large Diameter Unmanned Underwater Vehicles and Persistent LittoralUnderseaSurveillanceSystems.AccordingtoMarkValencia,thedeploymentof thesenewsystemswillgeneratetensionsandmorefrequentcrises;theywillproduce defensive reactions and escalatory dynamics; and they will lead to less stability in the mostaffectedregions,especiallyinAsia.6 ChineseassertivenessintheSouthChinaSeain2011 During the first half of 2011 China embarked on pattern of aggressively asserting its sovereigntyclaimsintheSouthChinaSeabytargetingthecommercialoperationsofoil explorationshipsinwatersclaimedbythePhilippinesandVietnam.Chinasactionsnot only raised regional tensions but also provoked the Philippines to align more closely with the United States and take steps to beef up its capacity for territorial defence. Vietnam responded by calculated displays of resolve to defend national sovereignty including livefiring exercise. The subsections below examine each of these case studies. ChinaandthePhilippines AccordingtothePhilippinesDepartmentofForeignAffairs,inthefourthquarterof2010 China increased its presence in the Spratly Islands. 7 The Philippines recorded six incursionsintoitswatersinthefirstfivemonthsof2011.8Threemajorincidentsstand out. On 25 February a Chinese missile frigate ordered three Filipino fishing vessels to leavethewatersoffJacksonAtollandfiredaburstofthreeshotstohurrythemalong.9 On 2 March two Chinese patrol boats threatened to ram the MV Veritas Voyager, a surveyvesseloperatingintheReedBankareaoffPalawanIsland,inordertoforceitto halt seismic testing.10The third major incident took place on 24 May when Filipino
6

MarkJ.Valencia,TheSouthChinaSea,MilitaryActivitiesandtheLawoftheSea,Paperpresentedto the International Conference on Major Law and Policy Issues in the South China Sea: European and AmericanPerspectives,cosponsoredbytheInstituteofEuropeanandAmericanStudiesandtheCenter forAsiaPacificStudies,AcademiaSinica,Taipei,Taiwan,78October2011. ABSCBNNews,3June2011. PhilippineDailyInquirer,3June2011. ABSCBNNews,3June2011. BBCNewsAsiaPacific,8March2011.

7 8 9

10

fishermen witnessed a China Maritime Surveillance vessel and PLAN ships unloading steel posts, building materials and a buoy near Iroquois ReefAmy Douglas Bank one hundrednauticalmilesoffPalawan.11 Chinese actions led the Philippines to officially declare its waters the West Philippine Sea. The Philippine government also responded to these incidents through diplomatic proteststotheChineseEmbassyandbyraisingthematterwiththeUnitedNations. ChinaandVietnam During the first half of 2011, Chinese assertiveness directed against Vietnam included theunilateralimpositionofanannualfishingbanand,moresignificantly,Chinesestate ships took the unprecedented action of interfering in the commercial activities of oil explorationvesselsoperatingwithinVietnamsExclusiveEconomicZone(EEZ). On 11 May 2011, the Haikou Municipal Government, Hainan province, issued an announcement imposing Chinas annual unilateral fishing ban in the South China Sea from16May1Augustostensiblytoprotectdwindlingfishstocksduringthespawning season.InpreviousyearsChinesestatevesselschasedandboardedVietnamesefishing boats and seized their catches and communications equipment, arrested Vietnamese fishermenuntilpaymentofheftyfines,orrammedandsankVietnamesefishingcraft.In 2011,therewereonlytworeportedmajorincidents.On1June,Chinesemilitaryvessels threatenedtousetheirgunsagainstaVietnamesefishingboatoperatinginwatersnear the Spratly archipelago.12A more serious incident took place on 5 July when armed Chinese naval troops reportedly beat the skipper of a Vietnamese fishing boat, threatened the crew, and then forced the boat to leave contested waters near the ParacelIslands.13 On26May2011,threeChinaMaritimeSurveillanceshipsaccostedtheBinhMinh02,a Vietnamese seismic survey ship operating in Block 148 within Vietnams EEZ. A China Maritime Surveillance ship cut the cable towing seismic monitoring equipment.14The Binh Minh 02 was forced to return to port for repairs.15On 9 June 2011, according to VietnamsMinistryofForeignAffairs,asecondpremeditatedandcarefullycalculated incident occurred when a Chinese fishing boat equipped with a cable cutting device snaredthecableoftheVikingIIseismicsurveyshipoperatinginsurveyBlock13603in the vicinity of Vanguard Bank.16A third cable cutting incident reportedly occurred in
11 12 13 14

ThePhilippineStar,1June2011. ThanhNienNews,10June2011. AssociatedPress,13July2011

PetroViet,BaoCaoSuCoTauTrungQuocCatCapThuDiaChanCuaTauBinhMinh02VaoLuc5H58 Ngay26/05/2011[ReportonIncidentInvolvingChineseShipCuttingtheBinhMinh2sSeismicCableat 0558hourson26May2011].


15 16

DPA,6June2011. AgenceFrancePresse(AFP),9June2011andBloombergBusinessweek,9June2011.

June but Vietnam decided not to publicise the matter.17Vietnam, like the Philippines, protestedeachincidenttoChineseauthorities. RegionalresponsestoChineseassertiveness Chinasrapidmilitarymodernization,coupledwithitsassertivebehaviourintheSouth China Sea, has created a security dilemma for regional states. This has led several SoutheastAsianstatestoundertakeforcemodernizationprogramsoftheirownaimed at developing antiaccess/areadenial capabilities. 18 The subsections below review developmentsinthePhilippines,Vietnamandelsewhereintheregion. The Philippines. In 2011, in response to Chinese assertiveness in its EEZ and Kalayaan IslandGroup,thePhilippinesdrewupanewdefencestrategyfocusedonbothinternal security operations and external territorial defence. The Aquino Administration allocatedP11billiontosupportforcemodernisationoftheAFP.OfthisfigureP8billion willcomefromtheproceedsoftheMalampayaNaturalGasandPowerProjectandthe remainingP3billionwillcomefromtheAFPscurrentmodernisationfunds.Startingin 2012,thegovernmentwillimplementafiveyearmodernizationprogramtotallingP40 billion. InMarch2011,AFPChiefofStaffGeneralEduardoObanannouncedplanstoupgrade theairfieldonPagAsaisland.TwomonthslateraPhilippinenavystudyrecommended the acquisition of submarines as a deterrent against future potential conflicts.19In September2011,immediatelyafterPresidentBenignoAquinosstatevisittoBeijing,he announcedthat4.95billionpesoswouldbeallocatedtotopupthedefencebudget.20 Thesefundswereearmarkedforthepurchaseanavalpatrolvessel,sixhelicoptersand othermilitaryequipmentinordertosecuretheMalampayaoilandgasproject. In2011,thePhilippinestookdeliveryofaformerU.S.CoastGuardWeatherEndurance CutterandassignedittooperateinwatersoffPalawaninWesternCommandwiththe missionofprotectingthePhilippinesEEZ.ThePhilippineisexpectedtoreceiveasecond cutter in 2012. The Philippines also expects to take delivery of three new Taiwan manufacturedMultiPurposeAttackCraftandprocureathirdU.S.CoastGuardCutter.21 The Philippines has presented the Pentagon with a wish list of new equipment including: coastal radar, longrange patrol aircraft, strategic sea lift vessels, offshore patrolboats,navalhelicopters,airdefenceradar,sixjettrainers,surfaceattackaircraft,
17

Carlyle A. Thayer, South China Sea: Third Cable Cutting Incident?, Thayer Consultancy Background Briefing,1July2011.AvailableatScribd.com.

RobertKarniol,VietnampreparestobetterprotectitsS.ChinaSeaclaims,TheStraitsTimes,10 January2012.
19 20 21

18

PhilippineDailyInquirer,17May17,2001. AFP,7September2011. Reuters,13April2011andAFP,3September3,2011.

antishipmissiles,andasubmarine.22

The Philippines has also reached out to Japan and South Korea. In September 2011, during President Aquinos visit to Tokyo, he and Prime Minister Noda agreed to strengthenmaritimesecuritytiesbyholdingfrequenthighleveldefencediscussionsand by stepping up cooperation between their Coast Guards and defencerelated authorities.PrimeMinisterNodaagreedtoincreasetheinvolvementofJapansCoast Guard in training their Filipino counterparts. 23 Following a visit by South Koreas President Lee Myungbak to Manila in November 2011, President Aquino announced thatthePhilippineswouldpurchasemilitaryequipmentformSeoul.TheDepartmentof National Defense was reported to be drawing up a list including aircraft, helicopters, boatsandothermilitaryequipment. Vietnam.In2009,inamajordevelopment,Vietnamannouncedthatitwouldprocuresix conventionaldieselpoweredKiloclasssubmarinesfromRussia.Thesearescheduledto be delivered in 2014. The Kiloclass submarines are likely to be equipped with sea skimming3M54Klubantishipmissileswitharangeof300kilometres. In2011,Vietnamsteppedupitsforcemodernizationprogramwhenittookdeliveryof four additional Su30MK2 multirole jet fighters. These are expected to be equipped withtheKh59MKantishipcruisemissilewitharangeof115km.Vietnamcurrentlyhas onordersixteenmoreSu30MK2jetfighters.24Alsoin2011,Vietnamalsotookdelivery oftwoGephardclassguidedmissilefrigatesarmedwithKh35Eantishipmissileswitha range of 130 km and two Svetlyak class missile Patrol Boats.25In addition, Vietnam launcheditsfirstindigenouslybuiltgunshipandtrooptransport.26InOctober,whileon a tour of the Netherlands, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung gave his approval forthe purchase of four Sigmaclass corvettes, two of which are slated for construction in Vietnam.27 In 2011, Vietnam beefed up its coastal defences by acquiring its second Bastion land based antiship ballistic missile system. Vietnam reportedly has also acquired Israeli Extended Range Artillery Munitions a ballistic missile effective beyond 150 km. In October 2011, President Truong Tan Sang made a state visit to India and requested Indianassistanceinfourareas:submarinetraining,conversiontrainingforpilotstofly Sukhoi30s,transferofmediumsizedpatrolboats,andmodernizationofportfacilities
22 23 24 25

ThePhilippineStar,24August24,2011. TheWallStreetJournal,28September2011. ThanhNienNews,July3,2011.

TheVoiceofRussia,22June2011;BBCVietnameseService,24August2011and25October2011;and InterfaxAVN,11October2011.
26 27

BBCVietnameseService,3October2011. BBCVietnameseService,18October2011.

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atNhaTrang.28ThelocalmediareportedthatIndiawasconsideringwhetherornotto sell Vietnam its BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. 29 In February 2012, Russia announced it will coproduce the Uran antiship missile (SSN25 Switchblade) with Vietnam.30 In November 2011, Vietnam announced a $3.3 billion defence budget for 2012, a reported rise of 35% over 2010. According to IHS Janes Vietnams annual naval procurementbudgethasincreasedby150%since2008toUS$276millionin2011.The naval budget is projected to rise to $400 million by 2015.31Vietnam is seeking to developanantisubmarinewarfarecapabilitybyacquiringeithertheU.S.P3Orionof theSpanishAirbusMilitaryC295.32 Regional. According to one noted regional security analyst, naval acquisitions in Asia havebecomeespeciallydisturbing,withundeniablesignsofactionreactiondynamics andNortheastAsiainparticulariswitnessinganemergingnavalarmsrace.33Defence analysts estimate that86 submarines will be added to the fleets in the AsiaPacific by 2020ofwhich30willbeChinese.34Chinacurrentlyhasthelargestsubmarinefleetand most extensive plans to expand its numbers including the Type 095 nuclear attack submarine(SSN)andType094JinclassSSBN.Asnotedabove,Chinaisexpectedtobase both attackand ballistic missile submarines atYulin Naval Base on Hainan Island. This prospecthasledAustralia,Malaysia,thePhilippines,SingaporeandtheUnitedStatesto stepupinvestmentintheirantisubmarinewarfarecapabilities.Securityanalystswarn thattheproliferationofsubmarinefleetsmaybedestabilizingintimesoftensionsand crisesduetothecomplexitiesofcommandandcontrol. In Southeast Asia the conventional submarine has become the new hallmark of naval acquisitions. Vietnams purchase of Kiloclass submarines is part of a regional trend.35 Indonesia,thefirstcountryinSoutheastAsiatoacquiresubmarines,hasindicateditwill replacethemwithnewerSouthKoreanmodels.Indonesiareportedlywillboostdefence spending by 35% in 2012.36Singapore has upgraded its submarine fleet by taking
28 29 30 31 32 33

TheHindu,9November2011. BusinessInsider,20September2011. RIANovosti,15February2012. QuotedinTheEconomicTimes,14November2011. AviationWeek,17February2012.

Desmond Ball, Asias Naval Arms Race, Paper presented to the 25th AsiaPacific Roundtable, ISIS Malaysia,KualaLumpur,29May1June2011.
34 35 36

BusinessWeek,25November2011. AviationWeek,17February2012. AlJazeera.net,7November2011.

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delivery of two Archerclass submarines in 2011.37Singapore reportedly is also in the marketforfourorfiveP3COrionmaritimepatrolaircraft.38Malaysiahasacquiredtwo Scorpeneclass submarines. Both the Singaporean and Malaysian submarines are equipped with Air Independent Propulsion systems. Thailand and the Philippines are currentlyconsideringacquiringtheirownconventionalsubmarines. Australias 2009 Defence White Paper set out plans to construct twelve new conventionalsubmarines.Recently,itwasreportedthatvisitingU.S.Navyofficialshave repeatedlyraisedtheissueofthelackofavailabilityofAustraliastroubledCollinsclass submarines, as well as the lack of progress on Australias planned new class of submarines. This pressure has prompted theGillard Government to place the matter beforeCabinet.39 Regional force modernization has and will continue to result in the introduction of increasednumbersofwarshipsequippedwithnewtechnologiesandweaponssystems. A recent review of regional force modernization over the last decade highlights the introductionofnewcapabilitiessuchasstandoffprecisionstrike,longrangeairborne and undersea attack, stealth, mobility and expeditionary warfare and, above all, new capacities when it comes to greatly improved command, control communications, computing, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) networks. 40 This review concludes, new types of armaments promise to significantly upgrade and modernizethemannerofwarfightingintheregion[and]fundamentallychangethe conceptandconductofwarfare.41 AccordingtoViceAdmiralScottSwift,CommanderU.S.SeventhFleet,hisprimeconcern is not the outbreak of a major conflict but any tactical trigger with strategic implicationsIdohaveconcernsaboutaspecificbrushupthatcouldresultinatactical miscalculation 42 In sum, regional sea lanes are set to become more crowded, contestedandvulnerabletoarmedstrife.43

37 38 39 40

TheStraitsTimes,3December2011. FlightGlobal,15December2011. TheAustralianFinancialReview,24November2011.

Richard A. Bitzinger, A New Arms Race? Explaining Recent Southeast Asian Military Acquisitions, ContemporarySoutheastAsia,31(1),April2010,6364. Bitzinger,ANewArmsRace?ExplainingRecentSoutheastAsianMilitaryAcquisitions,64. QuotedbyTheChinaPost,10November2011.

41 42 43

RoryMedcalfandRaoulHeinrichs,CrisisandConfidence:MajorPowersandMaritimeSecurityinIndo PacificAsia(Sydney:LowyInstituteforInternationalPolicy,June2011),3.

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ThenewU.S.nationalmilitarystrategy Oncomingtoofficein2009,ObamaAdministrationofficialsquicklyassertedthatthe UnitedStatesisbackinAsia.TheUnitedStatespromptlyaccededtotheASEANTreaty of Amity and Cooperation, appointed a permanent ambassador to the ASEAN SecretariatandrevivedtheannualASEANUnitedStatesleadersmeeting.WhenChinese assertiveness in the South China Sea raised regional security concerns, both the U.S. SecretaryofStateandSecretaryofDefenseusedvisitstotheregiontodeclarethatthe UnitedStateshadanationalinterestinsafetyofnavigationandoverflightintheSouth ChinaSea. The United States has responded to Chinas naval buildup and development of anti access/area denial capabilities by strengthening its posture on Guam, stepping up weapons and equipment sales to the Philippines, negotiating new arrangements with Australia giving the U.S. greater access to training facilities near Darwin, and basing CombatLittoralShipsinSingapore.44 IndirectresponsetoChinesenavalmodernization,theU.S.alsohasdeployedthirtyone ofitsfiftythreefastattacksubmarinestothePacificandsteppedupitsantisubmarine warfareprogram.EighteenoftheU.S.subsarehomeportedinPearlHarbor;theothers arebasedinGuam.45InlateJuneearlyJuly2010,inacalculateddemonstrationofnaval power, the USS Florida, USS Michigan, and USS Ohio submarines, simultaneously surfaced in Diego Garcia (Indian Ocean), Busan (South Korea) and Subic Bay (the Philippines), respectively.46Each of these submarines has been modified to carry 154 conventionalTomahawkcruisemissiles. Morerecently,theUnitedStateshasannouncedthatwithitswithdrawalfromIraqand eventual withdrawal from Afghanistan, it will rebalance its force posture and quarantine defence cuts in the AsiaPacific. The heightened importance of the Asia Pacific was underscored in January 2012 with the release of a new national defense strategy, Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense. This documentstated: U.S.economicandsecurityinterestsareinextricablylinkedtodevelopmentsinthe arcextendingfromtheWesternPacificandEastAsiaintotheIndianOceanregion andSouthAsiacreatingamixofevolvingchallengesandopportunities.Accordingly, while the U.S. military will continue to contribute to security globally, we will of necessity rebalance toward the AsiaPacific region. Our relationships with Asian alliesandkey partnersarecriticalto thefuture stabilityandgrowthofthe region. Wewillemphasizeourexistingalliances,whichprovideavitalfoundationforAsia
44 45 46

CheckpointWashington,18November2011. NavyTimes,21July2010. TheChosunIlbo,8July2010andTimeMagazine,8July2010.

13 Pacificsecurity.Wewillexpandournetworksofcooperationwithemergingpartners throughouttheAsiaPacifictoensurecollectivecapabilityandcapacityforsecuring commoninterests[emphasisinoriginal].47

Finally, the United States is developing an airsea battle concept to counter Chinas developmentofareadenial/antiaccesscapabilities.Theairseabattleconceptisbeing drawn up to enable the United States to prevail in conflicts where areadenial/anti accesscapabilitiesarewelldeveloped.AccordingtothenewU.S.defensestrategyone of the ten main missions for U.S. armed forces is to project power despite anti access/areadenialchallenges.48InresponsetoChinasuseofasymmetriccapabilities, including electronic and cyber warfare, ballistic and cruise missiles, advanced air defences,miningandothermethods,tocomplicateouroperationalcalculus,theU.S. military will invest as required to ensure its ability to operate effectively in antiaccess and area denial (A2/AD) environments. This will include implementing the Joint OperationalAccessConcept,sustainingourunderseacapabilities,developinganew stealthbomber,improvingmissiledefenses,andcontinuingeffortstoenhancethe resiliency and effectiveness of critical spacebased capabilities [emphasis in original].49 At the same time the United States has repeatedly sought to engage with China to manage their relations. The U.S. and China currently have nearly fifty mechanisms for coordinationandcollaborationonstrategicpolicyissues.TheObamaAdministrationhas sought to manage its relations with China through new mechanisms such as the StrategicandEconomicDialogueandConsultationsonAsiaPacificAffairs.ThePentagon consistently has sought to keep channels of communication open with China through their joint Military Maritime Consultative Council and other bilateral defence dialogue mechanisms. TheObamaAdministrationsnewdefensestrategystateswithrespecttoChina: Overthelongterm,Chinasemergenceasaregionalpowerwillhavethepotentialto affect the U.S. economy and our security in a variety of ways. Our two countries haveastrongstakeinpeaceandstabilityinEastAsiaandaninterestinbuildinga cooperative bilateral relationship. However, the growth of Chinas military power mustbeaccompaniedbygreaterclarityofitsstrategicintentionsinordertoavoid causingfrictionintheregion.50
47 48 49 50

Ibid.,4. Ibid.,45. Ibid.,2.

SustainingU.S.GlobalLeadership:Prioritiesfor21stCenturyDefense(January2012),2.

14

Nevertheless it is clear that continued U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and U.S. intelligence gatheringinChinasEEZwillremainmajorirritants.TensionsinChinaU.S.relationsare being transmitted to Southeast Asia. Manila and Washington have breathed new life intotheir1951MutualDefenseTreatythrougharmsandequipmentsalesandmilitary exercises.TheUnitedStatesandVietnamhavesteppedupmodestdefencecooperation activities to include a new senior leaders dialogue, signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on defence cooperation and the initiation of lowlevel naval exchange activities.Insum,U.S.diplomaticinterventionintheSouthChinaSeaissuehasprovoked a negative if not hostile reaction by China. China has criticized U.S.Philippines naval exercisesasuntimelyandwarnedbothManilaandHanoithattheyareplayingwithfire by encouraging U.S. intervention. China views the U.S. as an outside power whose interventionwillonlycomplicatematters. ASEANandASEANcentricregionalsecurityarchitecture InJuly2011,ChinaandtheASEANmemberstatesadoptedtheGuidelinestoImplement theDOCaftersevenyearsofstartstopnegotiations.SincetheGuidelineswereadopted no major incidents have occurred in the South China Sea between China and the claimant states. The tensions that marked the first half of 2011 have abated. China hostedthefirstmeetingoftheJointWorkingGrouptoimplementtheDOCGuidelinesin January2012.51 AtthetimetheoriginalDOCwasadopteditwascharacterizedasthefirststeptowardsa more binding Code of Conduct for the South China Sea. With the adoption of the Guidelines to Implement the DOC ASEAN members have decided to proceed with drawing up a draft COC. In November 2011, ASEAN Senior Officials commenced discussionsonwhatactivitiesandprojectstoincludeinacodeofconduct.Accordingto an Indonesian official, once agreement is reached the draft COC will be presented to Chinatodeterminewhat,when,whereandhowtheprojectwouldbecarriedout.52 On the face of it Chinas discussions with ASEAN member states represents a positive development that could lead to the adoption of confidence building measures and a lowering of tensions. However, if China seeks to play on divisions among ASEAN claimantsandengageinaprotracteddiplomaticgametokeepU.S.interventionatbay, thiscouldarousesuspicionsandscupperthediplomaticprocess. TheEastAsiansecurityarchitectureiscurrentlyevolvingasaresultoftheexpansionof theEastAsiaSummit(EAS)toincludetheUnitedStatesandRussianFederation.Atthe 2011 EAS informal leaders retreat, sixteen of its eighteen members raised concerns overmaritimesecurityissues.ChinawastheonlycountrytoarguethattheEASwasnot an appropriate venue for such discussions. Nevertheless, the EAS Chairs concluding summarynotedthatmaritimesecurityhasbeenestablishedasalegitimateagendaitem.
51 52

BusinessWorld,29November2011. Antara,14November2011.

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For the new regional security architecture to be effective there must be some streamliningofpolicyadvicetotheEASfromothermultilateralarrangementscurrently considering maritime security issues. For example, there are a number of overlapping arrangements under the auspices of ASEAN and the ASEAN Regional Forum charged withmaritimesecurityandSouthChinaSeaissues: ASEANDefenceMinistersMeeting(ADMM).TheASEANDefenceMinistersmetfor the first time in May 2006 and began the process of institutionalizing defence cooperation on a regional basis. The ASEAN Defence Ministers are now sectoral membersoftheASEANPoliticalSecurityCouncilestablishedunderASEANsCharter. TheADMMbroughtunderitsumbrellawhathadbeenseparateinformalmeetings of the ASEAN service chiefs (army, navy and air and military intelligence) that had been conducted outside the official ASEAN framework. At the 4th ADMM in May 2010, it was agreed that ASEAN navies would cooperate to patrol their maritime boundaries. ASEANNavyChiefsMeeting(ANCM).Maritimesecurityissuesfallunderthepurview oftheANCM.TheprospectsofpracticalcooperationamongASEANnaviesdoesnot appear good. At the most recent ANCM5 in Vietnam in 2011 there was disagreement over a number of issues including the formal name of the meeting, how often it should meet, conducting joint patrols, and a proposal for an ASEAN communicationsprotocolwhennavyshipspassedeachotheratsea. ASEANDefenceMinistersMeetingPlus(ADMMPlus).TheADMMwasexpandedin October2010toincludeeightofASEANsdialoguepartners:Australia,China,India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the United States. At this meeting it was agreed that the ADMM Plus would meet every three years with the second meetingscheduledforBruneiin2013.TheinauguralADMMPlusmeetingsetupthe ASEANDefenceSeniorsMeetingPlus(ADSOMPlus)andfiveExpertWorkingGroups (maritime security, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, peacekeeping, military medicineandcounterterrorism). ADMMPlusExpertWorkingGrouponMaritimeSecurity(EWGonMS).TheADMM PlusEWGonMSiscochairedbyMalaysiaandAustralia.Ithelditsfirstmeetingin Perth in July 2011 and discussed information sharing. The terms of reference for EWGonMSwereapprovedinOctober2011.InFebruary2012,Malaysiahostedthe secondEWGonMSthatfocusedonspecificinitiativesforpracticalcooperationand capacitybuilding.MalaysiatabledaConceptPaperonestablishingamechanismto supporttheworkandimplementthedecisionsoftheEWGonMS.TheEWGonMS isscheduledtomeet twiceayearand report its deliberationstothe ADSOMPlus. ThethirdmeetingwillbeheldinMalaysiainAugust2012.

ASEANMaritimeForum(AMF).ASEANestablishedtheAMFin2010undertheterms of the ASEAN Political Security Community Blueprint.53The second meeting of the
53

HanoiPlanofActiontoImplementtheASEANRegionalForumVisionStatement,20May2010,Point 3.

16 AMFwasheldinThailandinAugust2011andproposedexpandingitsmembership toincludedialoguepartnersinaseparatemeeting(AMFPlus).TheAMFisfocused onacomprehensiveapproachtomaritimeissuesandhassofarnotdealtwithSouth ChinaSeaissuesindetail.54

ARFInterSessionalMeetingonMaritimeSecurity(ARFISMonMaritimeSecurity).In 2009,theASEANRegionalForumestablishedtheARFISMonMSandlaterapproved itsWorkPlanattheatthe44thASEANMinisterialMeetinginJuly2011.55TheISMon Maritime Security focuses on information sharing, capacity building, and training ratherthanpracticalactivitiessuchasSouthChinaSeaCBMs.

Theevolutionoftheregionalsecurityarchitectureisatanascentstageanditisunclear howanexpandedEASwillrelatetothealreadyexistingmultilateralsecurityinstitutions. On the one hand, the current evolution of the regional security architecture may be viewedasapositivedevelopmentsinceitbringstogetherallthemajoractors,including theU.S.andChinaatheadofstate/governmentlevel.Ontheotherhand,ifChinafeels that other external powers are ganging up on it, the EAS process may become deadlocked. Of the eight dialogue partners, five are either allies or close strategic partners(U.S.,Japan,SouthKorea,Australia,NewZealand). Conclusion Whatliesahead?ThefuturesecurityenvironmentoftheSouthChinaSearegionwillbe influenced by five major overlapping trends. These trends contain both stabilizing and destabilizing elements. The five trends are: ChinaASEAN discussions on confidence buildingmeasures;increasedregionalmaritimeenforcementcapabilities;regionalforce modernization;ChinaU.S.rivalry;andtheevolutionoftheregionalsecurityarchitecture. ChinasaggressiveassertionofsovereigntyovertheSouthChinaSeainthefirsthalfof 2001hasraisedthesecuritystakesnotonlyforSoutheastAsianstates.Thispaperhas drawn attention to serious incidents involving Chinese state vessels including a PLAN warship with Filipino and Vietnamese fishing boats and survey vessels. Chinese aggressiveassertivenessintheSouthChinaSeahasnowbecomeaninternationalissue thatmustbeaddressedmultilaterallybyallconcernedstakeholders. International diplomatic pressure has resulted in the adoption of Guidelines to implementtheDOCbyASEANmemberstatesandChina.Theseguidelinesoffergrounds forcautiousoptimismintheshorttermthattensionsintheSouthChinaSeawillabate as the countries concerned adopt positive confidence building and other cooperative
54

Chairs Statement of the 19th ASEAN Summit, Bali, 17 November 2011, Points 1417 (Maritime Cooperation).

ASEANRegionalForum,DraftOutlineofaWorkPlanonMaritimeSecurity:ATemplateforDiscussion, 2nd ARF ISM on Maritime Security, Auckland, 2931 March 2010; CoChairs Summary of the Third ARF InterSessional Meeting on Maritime Security, Tokyo, Japan, 1415 February 2011; and 44th AM/PMC/18th ARF, Indonesia 2011, Chairs Statement, 18th ASEAN Regional Forum, 23 July 2011, Bali, Indonesia,Point41.

55

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measures.ThereiseventhepossibilitythatASEANandChinacouldreachagreementon aCodeofConductin2012. Dampeningtensionsmaybethefirststeptowardsalongtermsettlementbutlowering tensionsisnotsufficienttobringaboutaresolutionofunresolvedsovereigntyclaims.At theheartofthematteristheninedashlineushapedmapthatChinasubmittedtothe UnitedNationsCommissionontheLimitsofContinentalShelfinMay2009.Ontheface ofitChinasmaplaysclaimstovirtuallyalloftheSouthChinaSeaoverwhichitclaims indisputablesovereigntyonthebasisofhistoricrights.Chinasninedashmarkscut deeplyintotheEEZsthathavebeendeclaredbyVietnamandthePhilippines.Underthe UnitedNationsConventiononLawoftheSealittoralstateshavesovereigntyoverthese watersandcontinentalshelvesfortheexploitationofnaturalresourcessuchasfisheries andoilandgasdepositsontheoceanfloor.Chinamustclarifyitsclaims Chinese assertiveness has been counterproductive from Beijings perspective. The AquinoAdministrationisnowcommittedtomodernizingitsarmedforcesforterritorial defenceofitsmaritimedomain.ThisgoalhasdriventhePhilippinestoreviveits1951 alliance with the United States. Vietnam, while tentatively stepping up defence cooperation with the U.s., continues to embark on a robust program of naval force modernization. Securityanalystswarnthatexpandedsubmarinefleetsmaybedestabilizingintimesof tensions and crises due to the complexities of command and control. In addition, the proliferationofregionalsubmarinefleetshasledmanystatestostepupinvestmentin antisubmarinewarfarecapabilities.56 Finally, new developments in military technology will see the introduction of more sophisticated aerial and undersea drones and unmanned systems for intelligence gathering,reconnaissance,surveillanceandstrike.AccordingtoMarkValencia: The situation is presently beyond international control. Thus continued intrusive probesarelikelytogeneratefrustrationandresentmentthatmaytranslateintothe forcible halting of such intrusions when and if detected. The scale and scope of maritime and airborne intelligence collection activities are likely to continue to expand rapidly in many countries, involving levels and sorts of activities quite unprecedented in peacetime. They will not only become more intensive; they will generally be more intrusive. Indeed stepped up drone missions may even be considereda prelude to impending warfare. They will generate tensions and more frequentcrises;theywillproducedefensivereactionsandescalatorydynamics;and theywillleadtolessstabilityinthemostaffectedregions,especiallyinAsia.57

56 57

AviationWeek,

MarkJ.Valencia,TheSouthChinaSea,MilitaryActivitiesandtheLawoftheSea,Paperpresentedto the International Conference on Major Law and Policy Issues in the South China Sea: European and AmericanPerspectives,cosponsoredbytheInstituteofEuropeanandAmericanStudiesandtheCenter

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The ASEANcentric regional security architecture is an inchoatemixtureof multilateral mechanismswithoverlappingresponsibilities.IfASEANdoesnotdevelopgreaterunity and cohesion it will be unable to maintain its centrality in the regions security architecture. This state of affairs will only undermine ASEANs attempt to promote regionalautonomyasgreatpowertensionsaretransmittedintoSoutheastAsia.Insum, SoutheastAsiaisripeforrivalryduetothetransmissionofthetensionsarisingfrom SinoU.S. rivalry into a region characterised by intractable sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea, rising resource nationalism, and regional force modernization programs.

for AsiaPacific Studies, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, October 78, 2011 and Mark Valencia, The ImpeccableIncident:TruthandConsequences,ChinaSecurity,5(2),Spring2009,26.