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Home Database The Seventh International Conference on SCS
The Seventh International Conference on SCS

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The Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV), The Foundation for East Sea Studies (FESS) and the Vietnam Lawyers’ Association (VLA) are pleased to host the 7th South China Sea International Conference: “Cooperation for Regional Security and Development” on November 23-24, 2015 in Vung Tau city, Viet Nam. This 7th Gathering aims to provide participants a special opportunity to assess the current situation in the South China Sea from an interdisciplinary perspective and to discuss measures to maintain peace and stability and promote cooperation in the region.

 

South China Sea Young Leaders

7th International Conference on the South China Sea

 

Prof. Nguyen Manh Hung, Visiting Senior Fellow, ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore

Disputes in the South China Sea involve two set of islands. In the Paracel Islands, it is the dispute between Vietnam and China. The Spratly Islands have six claimants: Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. While conflict in the Paracel Islands is a bilateral issue, conflict in the Spratly Islands is a regional issue. However, because the South China Sea covers a vast expanse of water through which over 5 billion worth of commercial trade pass, conflict in the South China Sea can have a serious consequence for peace and security in one of the most strategically important area of the world it is, therefore, also an international issue drawing in the involvement of the major powers of the world.

This paper is designed to: 1) present a brief background to the South China Sea conflict; 2) examine the actions and interactions among claimants; 3) describe the reasons for and consequences of major powers interactions in a complex context combining the normal competition for power and influence between major powers and the global transitional process between a rising power and a status quo power; 4) review current proposals to keep the disputes under control; and 5) analyse the prospects of successful management of the conflict

 

Dr. Nong Hong, Director, Research Center for Oceans Law & Policy, National Institute for South China Sea Studies;Executive Director, Institute for China-America Studies, China

China’shistorical claim in the South China Sea based on the ‘U-shaped line’ overlaps with the claims to EEZ and continental shelf areas of other clamant states. In China’s view, a claim derived from historic rights may seem more forceful and valid in law than claims simply based upon the EEZ concept. While Chinese scholars tend to believe that the historic concept is still relevant in international law and lots of researches have been conducted on ‘historic rights’, western scholars do not seem to be on the same page. Since there are no definitive rules in international law, which govern the status of maritime historic rights, China’s claim is not a violation of international law. Similarly, since there are no such rules, it is doubtful whether China’s claim could be established in international law. This remains a critical research question for scholars.

 

Prof. Liselotte Odgaard, Royal Danish Defence College, Denmark

China uses a foreign policy strategy that involves presenting China’s actions as driven by deterrence and legitimacy demands. Beijing’s implementation of the deterrence element of its strategy in the South and East China Sea involves enhancing its law enforcement, navy and air force capabilities, responding to what Beijing sees as challenges to its sovereignty with means that are presented as deterrents of further challenges, and communicating China’s willingness to use force, if necessary, to defend its alleged rights to sovereignty and maritime zones. However, because sovereignty and maritime jurisdiction is disputed in the South and East China Sea, China’s claim to use deterrence is interpreted by the U.S. as unlawful use of force against neighboring states to defend claims that have not been assessed as legitimate. Beijing needs to make convincing arguments that its claims are legally legitimate to persuade the surroundings that China is indeed pursuing deterrence rather than aggression.Legal grey zones imply that Chinese practices compete for legitimacy with alternative interpretations.

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