News / Asia

Malaysia Plane Search Highlights Need for Improved Regional Cooperation

FILE - A performer poses in front of messages expressing prayers and well-wishes for passengers onboard missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.
FILE - A performer poses in front of messages expressing prayers and well-wishes for passengers onboard missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.
As the search for the missing Malaysian plane enters its 13th day and possible sightings of wreckage are reported off Australia’s southwest coast, the Malaysian government is struggling to be responsive to families of the passengers and avoid diplomatic repercussions. Analysts say the incident highlights the need for better regional cooperation.
 
After families of missing passengers publicly lashed out against the Malaysian government's handling of the jetliner mystery, authorities in Kuala Lumpur announced they will send delegates to Beijing, where hundreds of next of kin anxiously await reliable findings.
 
The move is a further attempt by the Malaysian government to correct early missteps that have drawn criticism from China, home to the majority of the plane's passengers.
 
But more than focusing on how one country has handled the crisis, analysts say the struggle to find the plane shows the lack of a regionally coordinated response.
 
“I think it highlights that Southeast Asia for all of the talk is still very much a region captured by national policies, national priorities,” said Nicholas Thomas, a professor of Asian regional governance at City University of Hong Kong.
 
Minister level officials and heads of state in the region routinely participate in regional meetings on security and military affairs through the Association of Southeast Nations, or ASEAN.
 
Regional countries, including China and the United States, also regularly participate in military drills to exchange information and improve capabilities on counter-terrorism. But analysts say cooperation on search and rescue missions has so far been largely overlooked.
 
The strongest efforts, analysts say, have come from the countries’ navies; in 2010, ASEAN foreign ministries passed a declaration on joint search and rescue mission for vessels in distress.
 
The declaration encourages states to create offices for search and rescue missions, share information and provide support in case ships encounter emergencies at sea. But it does not include provisions for catastrophic events such as flight MH370's disappearance.
 
Thomas said one of the obstacles in effectively coordinating search and rescue missions in Southeast Asia is the big divide in capabilities between regional powers.
 
“The more difficult areas to chart, are usually in those areas of lower capacity,” said Thomas.
 
The United States has been playing a leading role in maritime security in Southeast Asia, and in recent years it has expanded access to military bases in Australia and the Philippines.
 
China does not have overseas military outposts, but has been building up its naval capabilities near contested islands in the South China Sea.
 
Li Mingjiang, a security analyst based in Singapore, said China's military modernization could be of help in search and rescue missions.
 
"Over the years China has built the capabilities. It has now all the hardware available and technologies available as well, satellite and other monitoring capabilities, so it’s just a matter of political decision,” said Li.
 
Li also pointed out that Southeast Asian countries largely lack the capacities required and will welcome more active participation from China, just as they have welcomed help from the United States.
 
He said non-traditional security issues, such as coordination on search and rescue missions, are not sensitive subjects.

You May Like

Key Al-Shabab Commander Captured

Zakariye Ismail Hersi was captured in a raid Saturday morning in the town of El Wak near the border with Kenya More

Relations Between Pakistan, Afghanistan Key to Fighting Taliban

A Pakistani official tells VOA that anti-terrorism campaign has resulted in improved counter-terrorism cooperation with Afghanistan More

160,000 Displaced by Flooding in Malaysia

Prime Minister Najib Razak visits hard-hit Kelantan state, announces nearly $145M in additional relief for victims More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: meanbill from: USA
March 20, 2014 12:00 PM
If only they all could share in an expanded China (ADIZ) Air Defense Identification Zone...
IF ONLY the Chinese (ADIZ) overlapped the Malaysian and Vietnamese air defense zones?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syriai
X
Jeff Seldin
December 24, 2014 11:38 PM
Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syria

Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Russians Head Into Holiday Facing Economic Malaise

Russian preparations for the New Year holiday are clouded by economic recession and a tumbling currency, the ruble. Nonetheless, people in the Russian capital appear to be in a festive mood. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Mombasa in Holiday Tourism Slump Due to Security Fears

Kenya's usually popular beachside tourist destination of Mombasa is seeing a much slower holiday season this year due to fears of insecurity as the country has suffered from a string of terror attacks linked to Somali militants. Mohammed Yusuf reports for VOA on how businessmen and tourists feel about the situation.
Video

Video For Somalis, 2014 Marked by Political Instability Within Government

While Somalia has long been torn apart by warfare and violence, this year one of the country's biggest challenges has come from within the government, as political infighting curtails the country's progress, threatens security gains and disappoints the international community. VOA's Gabe Joselow report.
Video

Video US Political Shift Could Affect Iran Nuclear Talks

Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to resolve Iran’s nuclear crisis are continuing into 2015 after Iran and six world powers failed to agree by a November deadline. U.S. domestic politics, however, could complicate efforts to reach a deal in the new year. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video NYSE: The Icon of Capitalism

From its humble beginnings in 1792 to its status as an economic bellweather for the world, the New York Stock Exchange is an integral part of the story of America. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from Wall Street.
Video

Video Islamic State Emergence Transforms Syria and Iraq in 2014

The emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as a potent force in early 2014 changed the dynamics of the region. Their brutal methods - including executions and forced slavery - horrified the international community, drawing Western forces into the conflict. It also splintered the war in Syria, where more than 200,000 Syrians have died in the conflict. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell looks back at a deadly year in the region -- and what 2015 may hold.
Video

Video Massive Study Provides Best Look at Greenland Ice Loss Yet

The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than predicted, according to a new study released in the Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences that combines NASA satellite data and aerial missions. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the finding means coastal communities worldwide could be at greater risk, sooner, from the impact of rising seas.
Video

Video US Marines, Toys for Tots Bring Christmas Joy

Christmas is a time for giving in the United States, especially to young children who look forward to getting presents. But some families don't have money to buy gifts. For nearly 70 years, a U.S. Marines-sponsored program has donated toys and distributed them to underprivileged children during the holiday season. VOA's Deborah Block tells us about the annual Toys for Tots program.
Video

Video France Rocked by Attacks as Fear of ISIS-Inspired Terror Grows

Eleven people were injured, two seriously, when a man drove his car into crowds of pedestrians Sunday night in the French city of Dijon, shouting ‘God is Great’ in Arabic. It’s the latest in a series of apparent ‘lone-wolf’ terror attacks in the West. Henry Ridgwell looks at the growing threat of attacks, which security experts say are likely inspired by the so-called "Islamic State" terror group.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid