12 Jul 2023
APLN press release
Just a month after two near-clashes between US and Chinese navies in the Taiwan Strait, a new report from the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network (APLN) and VERTIC underlines how increasingly crowded East-Asian waterways are creating prime conditions for unplanned encounters and inadvertent military escalation. To avoid escalation arising from accidents or risky, unsafe, and provocative practices by naval vessels and aircraft, states in the region must urgently develop regional codes of conduct, says report author and maritime security expert Dr. Bec Strating.
The report highlights that in the period between 2010 and 2022, incidents involving non-military vessels were almost three times more frequent than between military-to-military vessels. The reported incidents involved regional and extra-regional actors, including Australia, Japan, China, South Korea, and the United States. Future maritime incidents in Asia are increasingly likely to involve non-naval vessels, says Dr. Strating.
The report finds that most military-to-military encounters in the last twelve years have been between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. With tensions increasing between the two nuclear powers, many experts fear that a misunderstanding in the Asian maritime domain could risk escalating into conflict. At least six of these incidents have occurred in the airspace above the seas. The findings show how a military-to-military incident between the US and China is a potential catalyst for a conflict in the region and highlight the urgent need for greater dialogue and enhanced confidence and security building measures.
The report highlights:
To maintain stability and avoid crisis in Asian waters, Dr. Strating calls on regional and extra-regional actors to:
Read the report (link to PDF document)
12 Jul 2023