The ongoing economic problems in East Asia are likely to have important defense implications. Before the crisis began last year, several nations around the South China Sea were planning substantial defense programs aimed at countering possible Chinese attempts to dominate the area, in particular the oil reserves believed to lie beneath the sea. In addition, Malaysia was planning to acquire a large series of offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), specifically to protect an important fishery from alleged Thai incursions. For their part, the Thais were continuing a lengthy build-up, and had just taken delivery of the first aircraft carrier in their part of the world. South Korea was continuing its own major naval buildup and had other programs, an airborne warning and control system (AWACS), under way.