Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia began joint patrols last year in the Malacca Strait, but they have rejected a foreign military presence in the vital shipping lane, which carries over a quarter of the world's trade.One suggestion, which I think follows Indonesia's radar announcement, is the "Marine Electronic Highway" --
The three states bordering the Malacca Strait and the International Maritime Organization will launch a scheme to monitor ships passing through the strait at the end of their two-day meeting starting Wednesday, according to the agenda of the meeting.
The project, called the Marine Electronic Highway, involves the three littoral states -- Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore -- along with the IMO, the World Bank and a group of shipping companies.
To be headquartered on Batam Island, near Singapore, the scheme will monitor every ship passing the strait as part of efforts to minimize cases of piracy. Under the scheme, the ships are also required to help protect the environment by curbing pollution produced by ships.
The monitoring plan and cooperation to ensure safe travel along the strait will be discussed at the Jakarta Meeting on the Strait of Malacca and Singapore: Enhancing Safety, Security and Environmental Protection.
Government officials, nongovernmental organizations, academics and representatives of shipping companies from the littoral states, as well as from other countries, including Japan, are participating in the meeting.
The navies of the littoral states will also discuss their joint efforts for security in the strait.
The Chinese have offered to help:
The Chinese government is ready to participate in international cooperation and contribute its share for maintaining and enhancing the safe navigation of the Malacca Straits with dominant role of the littoral states, an official said Wednesday in Jakarta.
"China, as one of the main users of the Straits, has always attached great importance to the safe passage of the Straits and has shown great concerns over the save navigation and prevention of pollution caused by ships of the Straits," said Ju Chengzhi, the director general of China's Ministry of Transportation.
Ju was in Jakarta to lead the Chinese delegation in the two-day meeting on the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, attended also by delegates from 29 countries.