Vol. IV / No. 3 | June 2023

Ristian Atriandi Supriyanto (Lecturer at the Department of International Relations, Universitas Indonesia)

In comparison to nearby waters, the South China Sea (SCS) lacks coordinated patrols (corpat) among the Southeast Asian littoral states. Political and other challenges, especially maritime boundary and territorial disputes, have stymied past corpat initiatives. However, corpat is consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that encourages the littoral states of “an enclosed or semi-enclosed sea” as the SCS is, to “cooperate with each other” including “in the management, conservation, exploration and exploitation of the living resources of the sea.” Maritime security issues beyond boundary and territorial disputes have made corpat in the SCS a genuine and practical necessity for Southeast Asia. With external support, the corpat could initially focus on the southern part of the SCS, or between the 1st and 10th degree parallel north. If realised, the SCS corpat might become yet another sub-regional ‘minilateral’ answer to maritime security issues that the SCS now poses to littoral and non-littoral states alike.

Keywords:  coordinated patrols, South China Sea, Southeast Asia, maritime security, navies, coastguards