Geo-strategic approaches to co-operative maritime security in northeast Asia : with particular reference to naval arms control, maritime confidence-building measures and maritime co-operation measures
The purpose of this study is to design a co-operative maritime security structure for Northeast Asia through the application of naval arms control and disarmament measures (both structural and operational), maritime confidence-building measures (MCBMs) and maritime cooperation measures (MCMs). In order to construct an analytical framework for such an application it is necessary to introduce sub-objectives. The first is to explore the options for providing co-operative maritime security, such as naval arms control. MCBMs and MCMs, and to assess the value of their contribution to the general co-operative maritime security framework. The second is to examine the particular points of the major regional powers' maritime security policies with a view to considering their relevance to the construction of a system of co-operative maritime security in Northeast Asia. The third is to delineate the regional geo-strategic security environment conducive to Northeast Asian co-operative maritime security in the framework of the various types of measures. The final part examines the potential conditions for the application of co-operative maritime security measures and suggests a priority of application on the basis of the regional maritime security environment. In the last decade, the United States and Russia have been forced to change their defence policies, trim their budgets, curtail operations overseas, and re-evaluate their fundamental purposes. Nonetheless, the medium powers, such as China and Japan, continue to build and deploy naval weapons and vessels that others find threatening. Unless they reconsider their positions toward co-operative maritime security, they may miss a critical opportunity to bring stability to the high seas. In Northeast Asia, the main boundary and territorial disputes are maritime in nature, e.g. Russia-Japan (South Kuril IslandslNorthern Territories), Korea-Japan (the Tok Islandsffakeshima), China-Japan (the Senkaku Islandsffiaoyu Tao), as well as Taiwan and, in the South China Sea, the Paracel Islands/Xisha Qundao (Vietnam-China), and the Spratly IslandslNansha Qundao (China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Philippines and Brunei). Multilateral security activities cannot replace formal diplomatic/legal negotiations to settle maritime boundary and territorial disputes, but co-operative maritime security measures may be particularly valuable in minimising the risk of conflict in such circumstances. Among the MCBMs, the most promising areas involve modifying existing INCSEA agreements, and establishing or expanding measures of transparency, such as compliance with the UN or an eventual regional arms register and the regular issue of credible official Defence White Papers. In the current context of strategic uncertainty and maritime force development in Northeast Asia, information exchange measures and communication measures may be the most valuable MCBM, applicable region-wide. Co-operative maritime security measures can offer a number of benefits. The main goals of MCMs are cost reduction through shared efforts or by joint operations for humanitarian purposes, joint development of marine resources, the protection of SLOCs and prevention of sea pollution. MCMs can also be used as confidence-building measures in themselves to maintain communication when tensions heighten. MCMs indicate that neighbouring countries can work together to look after certain problems at the regional or subregional level. This can help not onJy to deter potential adversaries but also to assure extraregional countries that no direct threat would be posed to their sea-borne trade. With functional and operational approaches, MCMs cover marine pollution, search and rescue, illegal activities, including drug smuggling, piracy and fisheries infringement. The first area of naval arms control to be considered covers constraints on naval activities as operational naval arms control measures. General operational arms control measures could be used to cover other naval activities, or they could serve as a model for similar agreements in other areas. The provisions for notification of dangerous activities, for instance, could be broadened to include mandatory notification of all naval exercises. After the 1972 Incidents at Sea Agreement, the United States and Russia developed stabilising rules of behaviour as their navies came into contact with each other across the world's oceans. With the expansion of naval forces in Northeast Asia and the increased likelihood of accident and miscalculation, one could make a case for the negotiation of regional INCSEA agreements, particularly on a bilateral basis. Such agreements already exist in the North Pacific: Canada and Russia, the US and Russia, Russia-Japan and Russia-ROK. The United States and China have also signed a related agreement on maritime consultation. Operational measures at sea could be implemented by imposing restraints on naval activities and geographical limitations. Structural measures, as the second aspect of naval arms control, consist of quantitative and qualitative approaches. A quantitative approach based on ratios would inevitably affect the relative size of forces of different countries. Such agreements are difficult to achieve because of differences in geostrategic goals and asymmetries of naval forces in the region. This thesis argues that the development of co-operative maritime security measures to the point where they become a significant aspect of the regional maritime security framework in Northeast Asia will not be easy. It is a very diverse region, where there are quite different security perceptions and maritime territorial and legitimacy conflicts which require resolution. There is also little tradition of security co-operation, at least on a multilateral basis. The maritime issues themselves are generally complicated, and the practical and operational factors involved in the establishment of effective co-operative maritime security regimes are extremely demanding. Maritime confidence-building measures offer the greatest potentiaL as an initial step. As subsequent steps, maritime co-operation measures and naval arms control measures could be followed. The important question is whether or not the application of co-operative security models can be brought to the point where they can enable the effective management of the increasing complexities and uncertainties which characterise the emerging maritime environment in Northeast Asia. Current fiscal constraints might clearly provide an opportunity for Northeast Asian countries not only to consider more closely their threat perceptions but also to pursue regional co-operative maritime arrangements which rely more on mutual understanding and less on a naval arms build-up.