Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 118
This monograph includes the discussion papers presented at the Second meeting of the CSCAP Maritime Cooperation Working Group held in Kuala Lumpur 16-17 April 1996.
These papers confirmed that maritime issues, and the maritime environment generally, are a rich source of ideas and initiatives for developing the habit of cooperation and dialogue between Asia Pacific countries.
Our choice of title for the proceedings of the second meeting, The Seas Unite: Maritime Cooperation in the Asia Pacific Region, reflects the progress made by CSCAP Maritime Cooperation Working Group in defining issues and identifying key areas for further action. The papers presented to the meeting enabled the Working Group to identify a comprehensive way ahead covering a wide range of initiatives that could provide the basis for a possible regional agreement on maritime cooperation, education and training, and the management of regional seas. These initiatives are described in more detail in the last chapter of this book. Preceding chapters cover areas such as regional naval cooperation, shipping and marine safety, marine scientific research and environmental issues, and the resolution of marine resource and boundary disputes.
The CSCAP Maritime Cooperation Working Groups is dealing with issues which are of growing common concern to regional countries. They have immense potential value as a basis for preventive diplomacy and confidence building in the region. This potential has been recognised by the ASEAN Regional Forum but, while progress is being made, there is still a long way to go in implementing practical measures to overcome the tensions and unresolved problems of jurisdiction and sovereignty that exist in the maritime environment of the Asia Pacific region.
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