With recent developments that seemingly undermine the established rules-based international system, serious questions over the adherence to the international law have been raised. For instance, over recent months we have seen chemical weapon attacks in Syria, Salisbury and Kuala Lumpur. In Europe, we have also seen parts of countries forcibly taken by others. In Asia-Pacific we are seeing huge challenges emerge in relation to the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea, with the Permanent Court of Arbitration Award being set aside by key players. The world is experiencing many other such challenges, such as increased external interference in domestic processes and increased number of cyber-attacks.
While many of these incidents have occurred in isolation, they need to be viewed collectively, as they represent a significant challenge to the rules-based international order. This forum seeks to address the following questions: how can challenges like the above be addressed effectively with the integrity of the rules-based international system upheld? Is there a developing trend towards selective implementation of the rules-based international system by some, and, if so, why and what can be done about it?
In this regard, the Stratbase ADRi hosted a half-day conference entitled “Challenges to a Rules-Based International System: Moving Forward” on August 17, 2018. Senior British Government Minister for Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Mark Field MP, delivered the keynote speech.