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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.