Potential Implications of AUKUS and the Proposed Thai Canal on Crucial Sea Lines of Communication under the US Indo-Pacific Strategy

Publication Name

Journal of East Asia and International Law


Southeast Asia is home to the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, one of the world’s most important sea lines of communication. The closure of the straits to international navigation may adversely affect the well-being of the global economy. On February 11, 2022, the Biden administration announced the new Indo-Pacific strategy, which will continue to deliver on AUKUS. For centuries, the proposed Thai Canal Project has been planned to revolutionize the shipping industry by bypassing the busy waters of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore. If the canal is built under the US Indo-Pacific Strategy, the pre-eminence of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore will not last long. This article analyzes the potential increase of navigation of nuclearpowered submarines through the Straits of Malacca and Singapore and its ensuing environmental implications from a viewpoint of international law. It discusses effects of the proposed canal plan in influencing the shipping industry should this “dream waterway” be constructed.

Open Access Status

This publication may be available as open access





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Funding Sponsor

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government



Link to publisher version (DOI)