The roles of maritime forces in protecting energy flows
The Asia-Pacific region is now universally regarded as the primary driver of global economic growth focused on North Asia, with major contributing economies being China, Japan, the Republic of Korea (RoK) and Taiwan. Importantly, they all rely on seaborne trade and significantly for some of them, a very high dependence on imported energy which comes, in the main, from the Middle East. These energy shipments are vulnerable to disruption, although actual threats vary between transit sectors and potential attackers (state and non-state actors). As most disruption scenarios could occur at sea, maritime forces (navies, coastguards and marine police) would have a major role in deterring such attacks or responding to them. But the maritime battlespace, for want of a better term, has grown increasingly complex, with varying jurisdictions, maritime boundary disputes, an opaque international shipping industry, and widely disparate capabilities and responsibilities of maritime forces.