pacific forum History of Pacific Forum

Issues & Insights Vol. 09 – No. 22

For trading nations like Japan and the United States, the high seas have a special significance. Oceans do not just provide “moats” that protect the homeland from foreign enemies, but are vital highways for the commerce upon which their prosperity depends. It is not surprising that these two nations have made securing and protecting the maritime domain a top priority in their national security strategies and in their alliance. The growing interconnectedness of the global economy has triggered a shift in thinking about the oceans in other nations. While they acknowledge the increasing significance of the maritime domain to their national interest, they have been less quick to see the high seas as a “global commons.” Too often, national maritime policies are all too national and parochial in their approach.