Regional maritime security
The strategic architecture of the Asia-Pacific region has been in the process of a profound transformation since the early 1990s— due partly to the end of the Cold War, but perhaps even more importantly, due also to the extraordinary economic growth of the region over the couple of decades before the 1997–98 economic crisis. 1 Economic factors, including not just the extraordinary rates of growth but also the high degree of economic interdependence, are changing both the structure of security relations and the systemic tendencies towards conflict or peace in the region.
Economic factors have also generated new or at least more engaging security concerns. For many countries in the region, economic vitality is dependent upon relatively long and sometimes quite vulnerable sea lines of communication (SLOCs). The extraordinary economic growth has provided increased resources for allocation to defence programs, raising the prospect of a regional arms race. And there are concerns that the high degree of interdependence can serve as a transmission belt for spreading security problems through the region, and more particularly that, if growth falters, or if conflict is introduced into the system, that friction and disputation are likely to quickly permeate the region. I believe that some portents of these disturbing possibilities have been evinced by the recent economic crisis.
New security concerns have emerged since the end of the Cold War. There are new areas of conflict, as disputes over competing sovereignty claims, which had been repressed by the dynamics of