MARITIME SECURITY IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC ENTAILS “TRADITIONAL” SECURITY CONCERNS OVER NAVAL POWER, AND “NON-TRADITIONAL” SECURITY ISSUES LIKE PIRACY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND FISHERIES DEPLETION. THIS TASK FORCE EVALUATES POLICY OPTIONS FOR A COMPREHENSIVE MARITIME STRATEGY FOR U.S. LEADERSHIP.
- U.S. leadership plays a central role in upholding a rules-based maritime order in the Asia-Pacific.
- While U.S. alliances still anchor U.S. presence in the region, regional organizations like ASEAN provide a framework for increased U.S. engagement.
- U.S. partnership with India and Vietnam present opportunities for deeper cooperation; China, Russia, and the Korean Peninsula pose strategic challenges.
- Naval modernization in the Asia-Pacific region has led to a security dilemma.
- Destabilizing incidents involving naval forces, civilian patrols, and non-state actors heighten tensions amid uncertainty about strategic intentions.
- North Korea’s actions and the U.S.-ROK THAAD response add a worrisome security dimension to a region that already has several nuclear powers.
- Nearly 30 percent of U.S. trade is with the Asia-Pacific, and thus U.S. economic prosperity is tied to that of Asian states.
- Threats to safe shipping routes, environmental degradation and resource scarcity dampen the commercial dynamism of the region.
- China’s economic leadership through its own regional initiatives, against a backdrop of potential U.S. economic retreat, risks Chinese economic dominance in the Asia-Pacific.
- Ratify UNCLOS to enhance U.S. legitimacy in maintaining a rules-based maritime order in the region.
- Promote the creation of a multilateral trade agreement that preserves the TPP’s goal of free and fair trade while also underscoring U.S. strategic engagement in the Asia-Pacific.
- Cooperate with regional actors on non-traditional security issues such as maritime crime and the sustainable management of the marine environment and natural resources.
- Help regional allies and partners develop military readiness to assume more regional security responsibility.
- Continue U.S. FONOPs, encourage regional states to conduct their FONOPs, and consider multilateral FONOPs.
- Expand and improve maritime communications protocols.
- Conduct joint military exercises with regional partners in order to improve cooperation.
- Seek cooperation with China on non-contentious initiatives to foster mutual trust.