JEAIL > Volume 16(1); 2023 > Notes & Comments
Research Paper
Published online: May 30, 2023

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

Hazmi Rusli & Lowell B. Bautista
Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia
USIM, Bandar Baru Nilai, 71800, Nilai, Negeri Sembilan Malaysia
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( University Law School, 100 Inharo, Michuhol-gu, Incheon 22212 Korea. / nses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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 nuclear-powered 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.

Keywords : Thai Canal Plan, AUKUS, US-Indo Pacific Strategy, Sea Lines of Communication, Transit Passage, Innocent Passage Regime, UNCLOS

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