Joint ESI-Chatham House workshop on “The Future of Sea Lane Security between the Middle East and Southeast Asia”

26 June 2015


Philip Andrews-Speed (ESI) and Jacob Parakilas (Chatham House) co-convened this workshop in Singapore on 23-24 June 2015.

As countries in Asia become more reliant on energy supplies from the Middle East, the sea lanes that connect these regions are increasingly important. While the US has been the principal guarantor of security of these routes since 1945 there are real questions as to what role America will play in the future as it develops its own energy resources and demand for Middle Eastern energy decreases. Any change could have significant implications for Asian nations, and in particular China, whose demand for Middle Eastern energy is rising swiftly.

However, it is uncertain how Asian nations could and would act, if at all, to make up for any reduction in US engagement. China is the most likely nation to have the capacity to do so, but its willingness to get deeply involved will likely be constrained by domestic and international factors. Understanding how these responses may play out is crucially important for policy makers.

To this end, ESI and Chatham House brought together 20 experts from Asia, Australia and the US to explore the likely scenarios and their implications for the region. The workshop was held under the Chatham House Rule, and a policy brief will be jointly published by ESI and Chatham House in the near future.

Contact person: Dr. Philip Andrews-Speed

The Meeting Summary is available here .