Maritime Boundary And Territorial Issues Essay

1858 words - 8 pages

Maritime boundary and territorial Issues
Several ASEAN countries are engaged in maritime demarcation disputes with one another. The most important of these involve Thailand’s tense relationship with Myanmar, the Philippines’ dispute with Malaysia over the province of Sabah, the competing claims of the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam in the South China Sea, territorial disputes between Malaysia and Indonesia and Malaysia and Thailand, and tension between Singapore and Malaysia. Maritime boundary demarcation has significant influence on ASEAN member states relation. JN Mak in Sovereignty in ASEAN and the Problem of Maritime Cooperation in South China Sea argues that cooperation at sea ...view middle of the document...

Subsequently in 1980, Malaysia pronounced its EEZ over the same area. However, Indonesia has protested on the Malaysian Map 1979, claiming that the area overlaps the Indonesian EEZ Map 1983.
The dispute was further escalated when Petronas gave the concession to Shell for oil and gas exploration in Block ND6 and ND7 of Ambalat area while Indonesian owned oil company Pertamina, also awarded an American firm, Unocal for similar oil and gas explorations at the end of the year 2004 and early 2005. The conflict started when Indonesian naval ship entered Malaysian waters around Pulau Sebatik (near Tawau) in Sabah on 6 March 2005. The intrusion was brought to light after the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) ship boarded and ‘chased’ away an Indonesian tug and barge, attempting to construct a navigational aid at Batuan Unarang (about 18 nautical miles Southeast of Tawau or 8.3 nautical miles from the Malaysian calculated baseline). The situation worsened with the incident involving two naval ships, belonging to Malaysia and Indonesia that took place on the 10th April 2005 in the disputed area. Both ships were in close proximity of one another and had demonstrated gunboat diplomacy. For example, Malaysia and Indonesia have deployed their navies at the disputed waters around the Sulawesi Sea in 2005. Though the media reports suggests that there was tension around the area which escalated with the “brushing” of naval vessels of the two countries, the diplomatic relations between the two ASEAN members have reduced tensions between the two ASEAN neighbours.
2.2. Pulau Batu Puteh (Pedra Branca)
The awarding of the ownership of Batu Puteh (refereed as Pedra Branca by ICJ) to Singapore and Middle Rocks to Malaysia by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in July 2008, have signalled that the two countries will likely deploy or strengthen their naval presence around the area. On May 23, 2008, the Court released its Judgment on the case. It ruled by a vote of 12 to 4 that sovereignty over Batu Puteh belongs to Singapore, and by a vote of 15 to 1 that sovereignty over Middle Rocks belongs to Malaysia. The Court further ruled by a vote of 15 to 1 that sovereignty over South Ledge belongs to the state in the territorial waters of which it is located. Both Singapore and Malaysia have accepted the judgement by the ICJ and later establish the Joint Technical Committee to enforce the ICJ’s decision. However, problems may arise if Singapore were to claim the EEZ from Batu Puteh. If Singapore claims the EEZ from Batu Puteh, Malaysia may protest to its claim, and this will lead to more build ups on both sides of the naval missions in and around the area. Malaysia may also refer the matter to the Joint Technical Committee and negotiations may take place. However, during the course of negotiations, disputes may arise between the enforcement agencies of both countries. To strengthen Malaysia’s position around the waters of Batu Puteh, Malaysia requires a naval presence to...

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