The Strait of Malacca is a waterway between Malaysia and Indonesia that serves as one of the most traveled trade routes in the world. In 2008, over 94,000 vessels passed through the strait--carrying about 25% of the world's traded goods. This 550 mile stretch of water is crucial for trade globally.
Throughout the 6th and 7th centuries, traders from Africa, Southern India, and Arabia used the Strait of Malacca to trade items including glassware, cotton goods, ivory, perfume, and precious stones. The waterway served as an important shipping route between China and India. It was name after Malacca Sultanate who ruled that area in 1400 and 1511.
Connection to the New Silk Road Edit
The Strait of Malacca is a fundamental aspect of China's Maritime Silk Road (MSR) as it is the main way to connect China with the Indian Ocean countries. In an effort to increase connections with Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and East Africa, China has invested lots of money into infrastructure improvements in port-development projects along the Indian Ocean. One such example is at the Myanmar coastal city of Kyaukpyu--the site of the end of a petroleum pipeline leading into central China. There are plans to build a deep-sea port here in order to reduce the reliance of the Strait of Malacca for oil and gas imports. Recent development may allow China to bypass it all together, the establishment of a Kra Canal in Thailand. The canal would permit ships to bypass the Malacca Strait, a crucial maritime chokepoint, amplifying the strategic significance of the project. The modern Kra or Thai Canal project would be connected to the various Chinese infrastructure and connectivity projects in the region.
Works Cited Edit
- Calamur, Krishnadev. “High Traffic, High Risk in the Strait of Malacca.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 23 Aug. 2017, www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/08/strait-of-malacca-uss-john-mccain/537471/.
- “Strait of Malacca.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 June 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strait_of_Malacca.
- Green, Michael J. “China's Maritime Silk Road: Strategic and Economic Implications for the Indo-Pacific Region.” The New Southbound Policy | Center for Strategic and International Studies, CSIS, 8 June 2018, www.csis.org/analysis/chinas-maritime-silk-road.