Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 14:36 | SYDNEY
Friday 20 Jul 2018 | 14:36 | SYDNEY

Cheonan: Unintended consequences

20 September 2010 10:47

Justin Jones is Navy Fellow at the Lowy Institute and is the maritime adviser to the MacArthur Foundation Lowy Institute Asia Security Project.

The North Korean sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan in March this year has given the ROK Navy cause to reflect on the future of its force structure. The Korea Times reports that the South Korean Chief of Naval Operations recently directed a shift in focus from blue water operations to littoral warfare and coastal defence, specifically to counter the North Korean threat.

That could be frustrating for North Korea. Yet this same shift is likely to be a welcomed Chinese authorities, who are particularly sensitive to activities by other navies within what it claims as sovereign waters (such as the Yellow Sea).

Of course, one of the most visible consequences of the sinking has been the conduct of large scale naval manoeuvres by the US and South Korean navies in regional waters, making Beijing uncomfortable. The US has declared its intention to conduct further naval activities in the Yellow Sea in the coming months.

Unintended consequences all round, really.

Photo by Flickr user #PACOM, used under a Creative Commons license.