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  • Author: Frank Umbach
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is officially neither a Chinese “Marshall Plan” nor a geopolitical master strategy. At present, it involves 84 countries, rising from 65 countries in 2015, and 15 Chinese provinces. Over the last year, the number of countries being concerned or ambivalent about China’s motivations and strategic objectives behind the BRI have increased. Despite officially supporting China’s BRI, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also warned last April, that China is supporting unneeded and unsustainable projects in many countries, leading to heavy and unpayable debt burdens. In ASEAN, Chinese investments are welcomed but there are also misgivings about the BRI’s strategic objectives which may constrain ASEAN’s policy options. As China is presently and will remain the single most influential country in global energy markets in the next decades, it is not surprising that its infrastructure plans of building railways, highways and ports are often interlinked with China’s energy and raw materials projects abroad and its domestic energy policies. This paper analyses the energy dimensions of the BRI and its strategic implications for its wider economic, foreign and security policies in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, Military Strategy, ASEAN, IMF
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Frank Umbach
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: As ASEAN’s energy demand is likely to increase by almost two-thirds in the period up to 2040, the regional oil and gas resources in the offshore zones of the ASEAN member states will become even more important for enhancing the energy supply security of both the individual member states as well as for ASEAN as a whole. Accordingly, access to and political as well as physical control and security of these offshore energy resources will receive even more governmental attention. In context of China’s Belt and Road Initiative as well as South China Sea policies and its energy dimensions, they can fuel already existing maritime competition and conflicts in the South China Sea, the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the interconnecting sea lanes and regional choke points. This paper analyses the question to what extent are energy security concepts and challenges are interlinked with maritime policies, particularly in regard to the unresolved overlapping claims in the South China Sea and the perceived intensifying naval competition in the Indian Ocean. It also highlights the strategic implications of ASEAN's rising energy demand and growing exploitation of its offshore maritime energy resources for future regional cooperation, enhanced competition and potential strategic rivalries as well as conflicts.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Oil, Gas, Maritime, ASEAN
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Indian Ocean, South China Sea
  • Author: James M Dorsey
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: China’s increasingly significant economic and security interests in the Middle East have several impacts. It affects not only its energy security but also its regional posture, relations with regional powers as well as the United States, and efforts to pacify nationalist and Islamist Uighurs in its north-western province of Xinjiang. Those interests are considerably enhanced by China’s One Belt, One Road initiative that seeks to patch together a Eurasian land mass through inter-linked infrastructure, investment and expanded trade relations. Protecting its mushrooming interests is forcing China to realign its policies and relationships in the region. As it takes stock of the Middle East and North Africa’s volatility and tumultuous, often violent political transitions, China feels the pressure to acknowledge that it no longer can remain aloof to the Middle East and North Africa’s multiple conflicts. China’s long-standing insistence on non-interference in the domestic affairs of others, refusal to envision a foreign military presence and its perseverance that its primary focus is the development of mutually beneficial economic and commercial relations, increasingly falls short of what it needs to do to safeguard its vital interests. Increasingly, China will have to become a regional player in competitive cooperation with the United States, the dominant external actor in the region for the foreseeable future. The pressure to revisit long-standing foreign and defence policy principles is also driven by the fact that China’s key interests in the Middle East and North Africa have expanded significantly beyond the narrow focus of energy despite its dependence on the region for half 1 China has signalled its gradual recognition of these new realities with the publication in January 2016 of an Arab Policy Paper, the country’s first articulation of a policy towards the Middle East and North Africa. But, rather than spelling out specific policies, the paper reiterated the generalities of China’s core focus in its relations with the Arab world: economics, energy, counter-terrorism, security, technical cooperation and its One Belt, One Road initiative. Ultimately however, China will have to develop a strategic vision that outlines foreign and defence policies it needs to put in place to protect its expanding strategic, geopolitical, economic, and commercial interests in the Middle East and North Africa; its role and place in the region as a rising superpower in the region; and its relationship and cooperation with the United States in managing, if not resolving conflict.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Economics, Imperialism, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, China, Middle East, Asia, North Africa
  • Author: Iis Gindarsah
  • Publication Date: 06-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: Indonesia has been increasingly susceptible to recent geopolitical developments. Along with the rapid pace of regional arms modernisation and unresolved territorial disputes, it begins to ponder the impact of emerging great power rivalry to the country’s strategic interests. However, rather than pursuing a robust military build-up, Indonesian policymakers asserts that diplomacy is the country’s first line of defence. This paper argues that Indonesia’s defence diplomacy serves two agenda of hedging strategy — strategic engagement and military modernisation. This way, Indonesian defence and security officials seek to moderate the impact of geopolitical changes whilst maintaining the country’s defensive ability against regional uncertainties.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Asia
  • Author: Maria Anna Rowena, Luz G Layador
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: This paper focuses on the governance of the security sector in situations of armed conflict and the role of effective governance in conflict management. Specifically, it seeks to examine whether the security sector has helped to advance conflict management objectives in Mindanao, or whether their activities have aggravated the situation. It critically examines the role of the core security sector, namely, the armed forces, the police and the auxiliary forces, the use of which was expanded during the Arroyo administration. Beyond that, it highlights the impact of those elected politicians with authority and oversight over the armed units. The paper uses Maguindanao, a province in Mindanao in the southern Philippines, as a case study.
  • Topic: Security, Military Strategy, Governance, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Asia, Philippines, Mindanao, Maguindanao
  • Author: Pradumna B. Rana, Wai-Mun Chia
  • Publication Date: 05-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: This paper argues that contrary to popular belief, in the bygone era, there was not one but two Silk Roads in Asia – the Northern and the less well-known South-western Silk Road (SSR). The SSR connected South/Central Asia with southern China and present day Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). After enjoying a rich history of around 1,600 years, the Silk Roads went into disrepair. Now, for various economic, security, and political reasons, land connectivity is once again making a comeback in Asia. These include the (i) ―Go West‖ and the recent ―New Silk Roads‖ policies of China; (ii) ―Look East‖ policies of South Asia; (iii) opening of Myanmar, a node between South Asia and East Asia; and (iv) growing importance of supply-chain trade. The focus has, however, been mainly on reviving the Northern Silk Road with relatively few actions being initiated to revive the SSR. Mirroring the on-going efforts in the Greater Mekong Sub-region and the Central Asian region, this paper proposes four economic corridors for Pan-Asian connectivity that is to connect South/Central Asia with southern China and ASEAN. The paper argues that the revival of land connectivity in Asia is making Maritime Asia of the past, more continental-based. One implication is that regional institutions focusing solely on Maritime Asia, such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), may be losing some of their relevance vis-à-vis say the more continental-based China-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The other is that the influence of the West in Asia‘s security may be declining relative to that of China, India, and Russia.
  • Topic: Security, Globalization, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, India, Asia
  • Author: Caitriona Heinl
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: This paper outlines regional level cooperation efforts of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to counter serious cross-border cyber threats and identifies where gaps might exist, which require further and urgent consideration. It considers whether more might be done to create a comprehensive approach to cyber security in the ASEAN region. Finally, it aims to fill identified gaps by providing several recommendations for possible future development and implementation to create a resilient regional cyber security regime.
  • Topic: Security, Regional Cooperation, Terrorism, Cybersecurity, Digital Economy
  • Political Geography: Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Christopher G. Baker
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The rapid hydropower development in the Mekong River Basin brings with it a growing number of security challenges for state and regional policymakers. While the interrelated challenges range from local, human security issues, to regional-level concerns, all stem from the externalities brought about by hydro-development. This paper analyses the ramifications of the current 'hydropower gold-rush' on and around the Mekong. By specifically examining the non-traditional security concerns of food and water security and how these threaten to drive human insecurity, migration and instability within the region, it is able to challenge the dominant development and economic mindset that continues to encourage development at the cost of livelihoods. Instead of an economic hydro-boom as anticipated by many, continued dam building on the Mekong and its tributaries could result in a non-traditional security disaster characterised by severe food shortages, destruction of livelihoods and large irregular movements of people.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Economics, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: Aries A. Arugay
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The militaries of developing countries have often gone beyond the mission of external defence, to perform unconventional roles ranging from disaster relief and economic management to law enforcement and internal security. This paper focuses on development missions carried out by the armed forces of the Philippines and Thailand in and out of conflict zones, and provides an analysis of the causes behind the re-emergence of such missions in recent years. Based on a comparison of the two countries' experience, this paper argues that the military's renewed involvement in development work stems from two factors: their significant role in political succession; and the increasing salience of concepts linking security and development, in particular, the notion of non-traditional security. The effectiveness of such projects could, however, be hampered by the lack of a clear, well-implemented national development framework and by systemic weaknesses in security sector governance. This paper thus argues that, in order to address the various non-traditional security threats in the two countries, security sector reform would have to be implemented and civilian oversight over security institutions improved.
  • Topic: Security, Development, Governance
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, Philippines, Thailand
  • Publication Date: 07-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: On 30–31 July 2012, a Policy Roundtable on Asian Non-Traditional Security was held at the Hotel Novotel Beijing Peace, China, with the aim of sharing the research findings of participating institutions. The Roundtable was organised by the Center for Regional Security Studies (CRSS), Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS); the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS); the National Institute of International Strategy (NIIS), CASS; and the Center for Non-Traditional Security and Peaceful Development Studies (NTS-PD), Zhejiang University.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Environment, Human Rights, Human Welfare, Political Economy, Natural Disasters, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Israel, Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Arpita Mathur
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: Women are a social group vulnerable to food insecurity despite being primary actors in the food chain. The problem of food insecurity among women is especially rampant in parts of South Asia and Southeast Asia. Vulnerability to food insecurity has a definite effect on the health of women and children, as well as social and economic impacts in terms of fewer opportunities for education and greater instances of early marriages. A comparison of indicators used to assess vulnerabilities of women in the two regions shows that the overall situation in South Asia is worse than that in Southeast Asia. The primary securitising actors at the national, regional and international levels have to play an individual and collective role in rectifying the situation. It is equally mandatory for regional groupings such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to provide a sound systemic environment for individual countries to work towards achieving these objectives.
  • Topic: Security, Gender Issues, Food
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Publication Date: 08-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The International Conference on Asian Food Security (ICAFS) took place on 10–12 August 2011 at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel in Singapore. ICAFS 2011, themed 'Feeding Asia in the 21st Century: Building Urban- Rural Alliances', was convened in the context of complex and multifaceted challenges throughout food systems in Asia. The conference sought to address timely questions relating to these challenges, and foster discussions among a range of stakeholders from Asia's food sectors.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Poverty, Food
  • Political Geography: Asia
  • Author: J. Jackson Ewing (ed), Alistair D.B. Cook (ed)
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: The year 2011 has seen the further prioritisation of nontraditional security (NTS) issues throughout research and policymaking circles in the Asia-Pacific region. Regional trends and events have highlighted the need for strategies that can help people, communities, states and organisations address multifarious security challenges, thus propelling the NTS platform to a higher stratum of political and institutional discourse.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Climate Change, Development, Economics, Health, Poverty, Natural Disasters, Food
  • Political Geography: Asia, Australia/Pacific
  • Publication Date: 11-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: Over the last three years, the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) coordinated cluster three of the MacArthur Asia Security Initiative, which focused on internal challenges in Asia. The Centre developed an active research agenda that drew on its own resources as well as that of its network partners around the region to deliver policy-relevant outputs. The research addressed many of the most pressing challenges faced by Asia's policymaking communities, from climate change, natural disasters, and energy, to internal and cross-border conflict.
  • Topic: Security, Climate Change, Energy Policy, Natural Disasters
  • Political Geography: Asia, Australia
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: Five years have passed since the signing of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document, when United Nations (UN) member states agreed to the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP). Contained in paragraph 138 of the World Summit Outcome Document is a commitment by states to prevent four specific types of mass atrocities – ethnic cleansing, genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It was a significant commitment outlining sovereignty as responsibility. ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states were part of this historic signing, recalling incidents of mass atrocities in their own region, such as in Cambodia and East Timor. Since the 2005 World Summit, there have been numerous regional developments, within Southeast Asia, in the areas of conflict prevention, early warning mechanisms and protection frameworks for its populations, such as the recent establishment of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC). However, there has been little discussion on what traction exists and how to operationalise RtoP in the region. In addition, there have been few avenues in Southeast Asia, for policymakers, civil society members, academics and the media to collectively discuss how RtoP is viewed in the region, how it can be better promoted and whether there are any lessons to be learned from past experiences in the region.
  • Topic: Security, Civil Society, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Asia