South Korean and Malaysian maritime police forces conducted joint special operations training exercises off the Langkawi Islands, Malaysia, in mid-October. The exercises were designed to increase South Korean’s familiarity with the Malacca Straits, improve cooperation and inter-operability between the two nations, and aerial boarding drills designed to defeat potential maritime terrorist threats to South Korea, according to Donga.com, October 17, 2004.
Since South Korea’s economy is heavily dependent upon maritime trade - including ship building - the country is acutely vulnerable to attacks on international shipping - much of which passes through the most pirate-infested regions of the world. That threat becomes greater when one considers the nexus between indigenous pirates and international terrorist networks plying the world’s chokepoints.
Moreover, South Korea - the world’s fourth-largest oil buyer - is one of only three nations in the world importing 100 percent of its oil supply. In addition, South Korea is disproportionately and dangerously reliant (approximately 78 percent) upon one source for its oil - the Middle East. The United States, for example, receives oil from at least a dozen non-Middle East nations. Free and uninterrupted access to the sea lanes are vital for South Koreas survival especially considering the fact that South Korea is one of only a few nations with no strategic oil or gas reserve.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Here's an interesting read---it's bad enough having the DPRK as a neighbor.