Piracy threatens commercial shipping passing through major choke points and sea lines of communication in regions such as the Gulf of Aden (GOA) and Southeast Asia. Piracy has become a larger security issue in the international community as the number of attacks has increased and ransoms have escalated. Countries such as China have become more involved in counter-piracy operations; however, China has neither joined the Combined Maritime Forces task force in the GOA to combat piracy nor been completely transparent about its maritime strategy in either region. There are varying theories about what is motivating China’s behavior. Why is China involved in counter-piracy operations?: This thesis will attempt to answer the question, by comparing and contrasting China’s behavior in these two regions. Three possible explanations will be analyzed in an attempt to answer the research question. Is China trying to meet the challenges of its rivals and establish a geopolitical position, safeguard its economic interests, or cooperate within the international community as a good global citizen? The research reveals that there is some truth to all three explanations that help to explain China’s involvement with counter-piracy operations. Therefore, counter-piracy is a concern but more so a stepping-stone for a much larger maritime strategy.
Security Studies (Far East, Southeast Asia and the Pacific)
Naval Postgraduate School
Master of Arts in Security Studies (Far East, Southeast Asia and the Pacific)
National Security Affairs
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